DALLAS Rick Carlisle has the perfect tonic to help the Dallas Mavericks climb out of the biggest hole to start a season in franchise history.
“It’s a process that we got to stick with,” the coach said Saturday. “These situations are never easy. But you get through them by executing, by sticking together, by picking up your intensity, by having pride as a person, as a player, as a team, and that’s how we’ll get through this.”
After Friday’s 105-95 home loss to Portland, the Mavs dropped to 0-5 on the year. It’s the first time in the team’s 37-year history that Dallas has started a season 0-5.
The Mavs will try to break into the win column Sunday at 6 p.m. when they host the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Center.
Wins, though, will be difficult to come by with superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki out for at least the next three games. Nowitzki didn’t play in the second half of the loss to the Trail Blazers due to recurring soreness in his right Achilles tendon.
“As soon as I go out there and try to push off, show on the pick and roll, run backwards, all that stuff is uncomfortable,” Nowitzki said. “So we decided to just shut it down. It makes no sense to keep trying this for weeks. It hasn’t really gotten better.”
The Mavs may also be without point guard Deron Williams. Carlisle said Williams (strained left calf) is “very questionable” to play against Milwaukee.
But Dallas will be boosted by the return of center Andrew Bogut, who missed Friday’s contest against Portland for personal reasons.
Still, despite the injuries, the Mavs know they have to put up a united front in order to get their ship sailing in the right direction.
“It’s attainable — we have the team to do it,” second-year forward Justin Anderson said. “Obviously with the bruises, the bumps that we have with some of our veterans, the young guys, we have to step up. We have to bring a level of energy and execution.”
Anderson recalls late last season when the Mavs dropped 10 of 12 games to fall to 35-38 and in danger of missing the playoffs. But Anderson was inserted into the starting lineup, and the Mavs went 7-2 down the stretch to advance to the Western Conference playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
“We’ve all been here before, and we’ve seen this before,” Anderson said. “I think this is what really makes you, not just a man how you sustain or withstand it, but it also makes you a professional athlete.
“So we’re ready to take on the challenge and we just have to continue to be focused on the task at hand, and that’s Milwaukee. I think the key is to just continue to stay the course and eliminate the distractions.”