NEW ORLEANS — It took a few seconds for owner Mark Cuban to compare the Dallas Mavericks not qualifying for the playoffs to any of his other business ventures.“I guess it’s like a business going out of business, and I haven’t had many of those,” Cuban said. “Not a good feeling.”And not a feeling Cuban wants to experience again.“It motivates you to work harder, to get back in the gym so you can work harder,” Cuban said. “The difference is in other businesses you go out and sell something, you can try to control your own destiny and hustle and do better.“Here, you’ve got 29 other teams trying to do the same [stuff] and beat you at it, so it’s harder. There’s no easy template for winning, and if there was, everybody would do it.”The Mavericks (39-40) hope they have the template for beating the New Orleans Hornets (27-53), because the two teams face each other at 5 p.m. Sunday at the New Orleans Arena.Working overtimeWith Friday’s 108-105 overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets, the Mavericks are 3-8 in overtime games this season.The Mavericks’ franchise record for most overtime games was eight, which they matched three times. But the Mavs know 11 overtime games are too many.“We reside in kind of an altered state of zaniness, our team,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s just kind of been that way. It’s never easy. It’s a bit of an adventure, but they’re good guys and they’re trying.”Forward Vince Carter had fun joking about why the Mavs have managed to get themselves involved in so many overtime games.“It’s all a marketing scheme,” Carter said. “We want to keep the fans interested.“Sometimes we make the heart beat a little faster than normal, increase season ticket sales for next year. It’s all a marketing scheme — as long as we pull out the win at the end.”Cuban backs CarlisleMark Cuban all but offered a public apology to coach Rick Carlisle for not giving him enough quality assets to reach the playoffs.“Rick’s a great coach,” Cuban said. “We obviously didn’t have what we thought we would have, but we obviously should have had more. I don’t know if we could have, but we should have, so it’s all on me. If that means I let Rick down, I let Rick down.”With nine new players on the roster this season, Carlisle has done the best he could with what was given to him. Cuban said fan and media criticism should be directed at the owner.“If someone’s going to take a shot, take it at me,” Cuban said. “My job is to make sure we put everybody in a position to succeed, and we obviously didn’t.”Regular routineEven with no playoff spots on the line, forward Dirk Nowitzki’s regular routine always remains the same.“Whether it’s a preseason game or regular-season game, I do my regular routine, I stretch and get in my nap,” Nowitzki said. “Once I go out there, it’s fun. I try to win and go out there and compete.“We’ve got three games left and we have to go for them,” Nowitzki said. “We will keep competing the way we did [Friday].“We got down a little bit and came back. Honestly, I try to play the end of the season out strong and win the next game for coach.”Mavs sign AkognonThe Mavericks signed point guard Josh Akognon on Saturday for the rest of the season. Akognon originally signed a 10-day contract with the Mavs on April 3. In one game with the Mavericks, Akognon scored two points in four minutes.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice