While admitting that his team has had repeated issues all season when it comes to rebounding, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle also noted that there’s not a lot of practice time to fix the problem.
Thus, the Mavs have to fix the problem on the run.
“Right now, with not much practice time, we’ve got to do it by watching video, by committing to the absolute necessity that we’ve got to do better collectively as a team,” Carlisle said before Friday’s game, a 117-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings. “Friday morning we showed about a two-minute clip of us doing a great job of blocking out in a lot of situations against the Kings because these guys are a real problem on the boards as well.”
The Mavericks’ rebounding deficit in beating the Kings was only 45-43.
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Tied for 16th in the NBA in rebounds with 41.7 per game, the Mavs (37-39) were one well-placed rebound away from handing the Denver Nuggets just their fourth home loss of the season on Thursday. But in the final 11.9 seconds of the game, the Nuggets registered three offensive rebounds while rallying for a 95-94 victory.
The crucial occurred when Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried missed his second straight free throw and ex-Mavs forward Corey Brewer chased down the rebound with 7.7 seconds left and the Mavs up 94-93. Carlisle, though, acknowledged that there were some shenanigans going on by the Nuggets on that critical play.
“You saw the replay and you saw what [Nuggets point guard] Andre Miller did,” Carlisle said. “He came in and he wiped out [Darren] Collison.
“It was a foul that was missed, but they were very aggressive and they created an opportunity. What we’ve got to do is we’re going to have to do a better job of hitting first in that situation.”
Center Brandan Wright, who had a team-high 16 points and six rebounds against the Nuggets, knows that while there are hundreds of plays that occur during an NBA game, it’s human nature to focus on what happens near the conclusion of a close game.
“You can always put it on the end because it’s magnified, because it is the end,” Wright said. “But there were plays throughout the game where we could have just took control and put the game out of reach.
“You can always go to the end and say, ‘Well, you should have gotten a rebound, you should have gotten a stop, you should have done this, you should have done that.’”
Carlisle agreed with Wright in that the Mavs made so many mistakes leading up to that loss.
“There’s dozens and dozens of things that happen in the previous quarters, and early in the fourth leading up to that,” Carlisle said. “We looked at some of them [Friday].
“We’ve got to be in better help position. We got blown by 16 times Thursday night — that can’t happen.”
When such defensive breakdowns occur, it will lead to other problems.
“Any time you get blown by quickly, it’s going to put your defense in rotation, it’s going to show your guys up on the boards,” Carlisle said. “It’s been a problem all year and it was a major problem Thursday night.”
It was another rough setback for the Mavericks.
“It’s a tough loss and we’ve had a lot of losses like that this year, but we can’t dwell on it,” Wright said. “We’ve moved on from that last night.
“We’ve lost a lot of games like that. If we can get half of those games we’d be in the 40s in wins.”