Back-to-backs cut into Mavericks’ practice time

Posted Tuesday, Dec. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The NBA season might be young, but with Wednesday’s game in New Orleans at 7 p.m. at the New Orleans Arena, the Dallas Mavericks will have completed their seventh back-to-back.

That means of the Mavericks’ 20 games, 14 have been part of back-to-back situations. No other team in the NBA has played more back-to-back games this season, and the flurry has made for some challenging practice sessions.

“It’s just been a busy schedule and when it happens you don’t have as much practice time,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “Some of the attention-to-detail stuff slips and you’ve got to use shootarounds and film sessions to try to get it right, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The other challenge is keeping players’ minutes low, especially in the first leg of the back-to-back.

“Coach really does a good job monitoring our minutes,” forward Shawn Marion said. “When we get leads that’s when you’re on a back-to-back, you need to sustain it because now you’ve got tomorrow that’s much harder to get back or to keep it, and it makes it even harder and that kills you for the next night.”

Harris practices

Guard Devin Harris went through his first practice of the season Monday and managed to get out of it unscathed.

Harris admits he was a bit rusty, but said that was expected and added that he has no idea when he’ll be able to play.

“No [return] date yet,” Harris said. “We’re still shooting for sometime in December though — before Christmas, hopefully.”

Harris underwent toe surgery on his left foot over the summer and missed training camp and the first 19 games of the season.

The Mavericks are eager to get Harris back so he can alleviate some of the pressure placed on backup point guards Gal Mekel and Shane Larkin. The two rookies have been struggling behind starting point guard Jose Calderon.

After missing Saturday’s game with a bone bruise to his right ankle, Calderon started Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Carlisle praises Stotts

Carlisle paused to pay homage to Portland coach Terry Stotts, who was named the NBA’s Western Conference coach of the month for November.

Stotts coached the Blazers to a 13-3 record in November, which included an 11-game winning streak.

“He’s so deserving,” Carlisle said. “He’s done a great job there. That’s a top team, not only in the West, but in the entire league right now.”

Stotts was an assistant under Carlisle in Dallas from 2008 until he got the Portland job before last season. He was dubbed the team’s offensive coordinator when the Mavs won the 2011 NBA title.

West vs. East

Carlisle doesn’t believe the coaches in the Western Conference are envious of the coaches in the Eastern Conference because the East teams can bag a lot more wins against a bunch of terrible teams in their conference.

“You can’t make it that,” Carlisle said. “It’s a great challenge. You’ve got to jump in and go for it.”

Indiana and Miami are the only two teams out of 15 in the East with a winning record.

Wright may practice

Carlisle said center Brandan Wright could go through his first contact practice Friday.

Wright has not played this season after suffering a small nondisplaced fracture of his left shoulder during an Oct. 8 practice session.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice

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