DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks rebounded from an embarrassing 33-point loss to Cleveland last Tuesday by walloping the Los Angeles Clippers by 30 points this past Friday.
Now the Mavs hope they’re able to rebound – literally – tonight when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7:30 at American Airlines Center.
The Thunder leads the NBA in rebounds at 47.5 per game. And their plus 4.3 rebound differential is the highest in the league besides Utah’s plus 4.6 rebound differential.
Also, only the Detroit Pistons (13.1) are averaging more offensive rebounds than the 12.4 the Thunder average per game.
So what do the Mavs have to do tonight in order to get their fair share of rebounds?
"We’ve got to block out first, and then we’ve got to have five guys in there,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Monday morning’s shootaround at AAC. "There’s the only way to get rebounds – there’s no other way to do it.’’
Carlisle noted that while the Thunder beat Chicago 109-100 on Sunday, Oklahoma City overpowered the Bulls on the boards 52-33. That includes a 17-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
"They manhandled Chicago yesterday,’’ Carlisle said. "They got 17 or 19 offensive rebounds and 19 or 20 second-chance points.
‘A lot of them are put backs. Some of them, though, they grab them and they kick it out to (Anthony) Morrow, they kick it out to (D.J.) Augustin) and those guys just flip in a three.’’
Enes Kanter grabbed 18 rebounds for OKC against the Bulls, and Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook each collected 11. Kanter and Adams are 6-11 and 7-feet, respectively, while the 6-10 Mitch McGary also has been a factor inside for the Thunder.
"They’ve been playing well,’’ center Tyson Chandler said. "I’ve watched a couple of their games lately and I watched the game last night and I thought they did an excellent job of kind of dominating in the paint, keeping balls alive, playing off of Westbrook’s attack.
"That’s the tough thing, because he attacks you and it kind of leaves them free. So we’ve got to do an excellent job of kind of packing the paint.’’
Westbrook attacked the Mavs to the tune of 34 points and10 assists when Oklahoma City defeated the Mavs 104-89 on Feb. 19. Power forward Serge Ibaka contributed 21 points and 22 rebounds in that game, which the Thunder outrebounded the Mavs 62-39.
Ibaka, however, will miss his third straight game tonight after he underwent a medical procedure to address some soreness in his knee, according to ESPN.com.
"We got hurt badly in the rebounding department the game right after the All-Star break,’’ Carlisle said. "There was one possession where they got six or seven shots, and that just can’t happen tonight.
"So its got to be a collective effort, understanding that regardless of who plays for them – whether Ikaba plays or he doesn’t play – they’re going to have two monsters in there just about all the time.’’
Chandler is fifth in the NBA in rebounds at 11.5 per game. But he knows tonight will be an extremely physical challenge on the boards which he can’t do all by himself.
"Everybody just find a body,’’ Chandler said. "It can’t be one person in there battling.
"Everybody has to get in there.’’