With the Detroit Pistons next on their schedule, this is not the time for the Dallas Mavericks to start feeling sorry for themselves.
No doubt the Mavericks are not in the best of moods after fading down the stretch Monday night and losing at home to the Boston Celtics 111-98. But the Mavericks have an important road game Wednesday night against the Pistons at 6:30 p.m. at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The game against Detroit is the last for the Mavericks (22-33) before an eight-day break for the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. The Mavericks’ first game after the break is Feb. 24 at Minnesota.
“Detroit is a tough team,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “They’re big, they’re physical in every position and it’s going to be a tough game for us.
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“But you just got to fight through everything that’s going on right now and find a way to get up one more time and then you can have a break.”
The loss to the Celtics ended a challenging period where the Mavericks played five games in eight days and went 2-3 in that span, including 2-2 at home.
Nowitzki, however, didn’t know if the Mavericks were gassed against the Celtics. But he knows there is no time for excuses and many recovery days lie ahead.
“We’ve got to find [some energy],” Nowitzki said. “We’ve got to find it for one more game, and then we have an eternal break that we usually don’t have.”
Slow starts to games have hurt the Mavericks, and it occurred again against the Celtics when they fell behind 40-30 less than 3 minutes into the second quarter.
“I think our biggest thing for us is starting games the right way,” Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes said. “We have to start off early and be in aggressive mode defensively and not let them get into a rhythm where it’s hard for us to stop them.”
Despite winning 11 of their past 17 games and climbing back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, the Mavericks lost ground in that race Monday. While the Mavericks were losing to Boston, the Denver Nuggets upset Golden State 132-110.
That puts the Nuggets (25-30) three games ahead of the Mavericks in the battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Nowitzki is fully aware that the Mavericks can’t expect to win if they get outscored 28-16 in the fourth quarter – like they did against the Celtics. That’s why a lot of head-scratching occurred after they started slow and ended much slower in the crucial loss to the Celtics.
“This one we would love to have back,” Nowitzki said. “But I don’t think we were right all night.”
Mavericks at Pistons
6:30 p.m. Wednesday, FSSW