Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t believe his team needs a complete makeover in order to make the final result of Game 2 against the Houston Rockets more palatable than Game 1.
Roofers need not apply as Carlisle insists the job is under control after the Mavericks sprung a few leaks during Saturday’s 118-108 loss in the series opener.
“Playoffs are about adjustments, so we have to adjust to things that need adjusting, and we have to stay the course on things we feel we’re doing decently and can do a little bit better,” Carlisle said after Monday’s practice. “And again, when you have a leak in the roof you have to figure out if there’s a bunch of things contributing to it or if it’s one big thing.
“And right now we have a lot of little things that we need to patch up, and that’s what we’ve worked at the last two days.”
Even though forward Chandler Parsons (knee) and guard Devin Harris (toe) are questionable, the Mavericks are hoping that work pays off for Game 2 of their best-of-seven first-round series against the Rockets.
The Mavericks won the rebounding battle Saturday night, held Dwight Howard to 11 points and limited James Harden to 4-of-11 shooting.
“Little slippages of coverages, [we] gave up some corner 3s, unforced turnovers,” Carlisle said. “Offensive execution needed to get cleaned up.
“So a lot of little things. And you do a couple of good things on offense, it will help your defense. It’s all related.”
Carlisle stressed that it’s important for the Mavericks to protect the ball. Dallas uncharacteristically committed 17 turnovers Saturday, and the opportunistic Rockets got out in fast-break mode and turned them into 23 game-changing points.
“Of the 17 turnovers, 10-12 were unforced, so we have to bring that number down,” Carlisle said. “We do that and it’ll reduce their points off turnovers, and that’s the equalizer.
“There are a lot of areas we had little slippages, and all those things add up to a big number. We have to tighten a lot of it up for Game 2.”
Turnovers are an unwanted part of the game, but it’s those head-scratching, careless ones that led to easy transition baskets for the Rockets.
“You have to be careful with the ball,” guard J.J. Barea said. “They’re great at going for steals and gambling, so we have to take care of the ball. And I think if we take care of turnovers, they’ll have less points in transition.”
Even when Howard was limited to just 17 minutes because of foul trouble, it didn’t deter the progress the Rockets were able to make in the series opener.
“I think we have to do a better job overall at fixing little things,” center Tyson Chandler said. “It’s not necessarily when [Howard is] on or off the court.
“It’s more so about how we’re affected by the little things they do out there. We had some untimely, some unlucky breaks. Corey Brewer came up with some loose balls and hit some 3s when we had the game close, [and there were] a couple of fouls here and there and turnovers as well that we have to stay away from.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760