After a road trip that started with great hope and ended with disappointment, the Dallas Mavericks hope to bounce back and rack up some wins during a four-game homestand, starting Sunday night against Detroit.
The Mavericks play the Pistons at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at American Airlines Center. The homestand also includes games Wednesday against the Houston Rockets, Friday against the Sacramento Kings and Feb. 3 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Dallas went 1-2 on its most recent road trip, which began with Monday’s 102-97 victory at Cleveland. The Mavericks then blew a 21-point lead Wednesday and lost in Toronto 93-85 before ending the trip with Friday’s 107-106 loss in Brooklyn.
With four games at home, the Mavericks hope to right the ship before it sinks.
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“We were playing good and headed in the right direction and we got knocked four steps back,” guard Monta Ellis said. “But the biggest thing is we’ve just got to stay together, continue to stay as a team and get better. Hopefully, we can get back on track and the home court can be a disadvantage to the other team.”
The Mavericks have complained that the schedule-maker hasn’t been kind to them lately. From Jan. 15-24, the Mavericks played six games, with only one at home.
In four consecutive games from Jan. 15-20, the Mavericks played in four time zones: Jan. 15 in Los Angeles against the Clippers (Pacific Time Zone), Jan. 17 in Phoenix (Mountain), Jan. 18 in Dallas against Portland (Central), and Monday in Cleveland (Eastern).
“Actually, [incoming NBA commissioner] Adam Silver got us pretty good here the last couple of weeks with the schedule, I’ve got to admit,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “So we’ve got to take care now of home court. We’ve been decent at home, even though we lost some here in the New Year. But we feel like we’re a good team at home, so we’ve got to take care of business starting [today].”
The Mavericks set off alarm bells around the Metroplex when they sat a healthy Nowitzki during Wednesday’s game in Toronto.
With a stint of games all across the country, the Mavericks said they simply wanted to give the 35-year-old Nowitzki some much-needed rest. Owner Mark Cuban said the Mavericks will sit Nowitzki a few more games this season, if need be.
When Nowitzki returned Friday against Brooklyn, he faced a massive set of double teams throughout the game and wound up shooting 5 of 15 from the field while scoring 18 points. He also wore a protective sleeve over his left knee.
“It hasn’t been great the last couple of weeks, but it hardly bothered me any [Friday],” Nowitzki said of the knee. “It’s kind of been a little stiff. But if you’re 35, 36, something is going to be stiff.”
Harris makes strides
The play of guard Devin Harris during Friday’s loss to Brooklyn was encouraging for the Mavericks.
Although he fouled out in only 16 minutes, Harris scored a season-high 14 points and handed out four assists. He also was 4 of 6 from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
In his first three games this season Harris scored only 11 points, dispensed five assists and was 4 of 14 from the floor, including 1 of 6 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“My legs are starting to get underneath me,” said Harris, who returned Jan. 18 from surgery in August on his left foot. “I’m gaining confidence each and every game. It’s something to build on.”
Ledo to D-League
The Mavericks sent guard Ricky Ledo back to the Texas Legends on Saturday. This is the rookie’s third stint with the Legends in the D-League. In 15 games with the Legends, Ledo is averaging 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 29.8 minutes per game.