There used to be a lot of encouraging signs adorning the walls of the Dallas Mavericks’ practice court.
If and when they bring them back, one sign that definitely needs to be hung up reads:
No rebounds, no rings.
In Wednesday’s disappointing 108-95 loss at home to the Detroit Pistons, the Mavs once again were embarrassingly smacked around on the boards, this time 60-43. That type of rebounding deficit won’t get a team very far in a game, not to mention a playoff series.
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And the Mavs know it.
“In order to be a good defensive team you have to get the rebounds,” said center Tyson Chandler, who collected 15 rebounds against the Pistons. “And the thing is it just knocks the air out of your sails when you play great defense and the final 3 seconds they get a loose ball [off an offensive rebound] and put it back in or shoot it back out for a wide-open uncontested shot.
“We have to do a much better job of sticking our nose in there and getting rebounds.”
The Mavs, who are tied for 18th in the league in rebounds with 42.2 per game, are fully aware of the problem. And they work on it frequently.
Still, when the game starts, the rebounding woes persist.
“We’ve actually improved to some degree in the last six or eight games, but there’s still a deficit,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’re checking out better, but teams are still coming up with the ball too much, so we’ve just got to keep working on it.
“If we can’t be as least even with teams on the boards it heightens the challenge so much it just makes it really difficult.”
Chandler ranks third in the NBA with a team-high 12.1 rebounds per game. Dirk Nowitzki trails Chandler with 5.9 boards a game, and point guard Rajon Rondo has averaged 5.8 in 10 games since joining the Mavs.
After that, small forward Chandler Parsons is averaging five rebounds per game. Then the pickings get slim.
Carlisle doesn’t make any excuses for his team’s failures on the boards. He knows rebounding is about hustle, want-to and boxing out.
“We’ve got to have five guys going after it,” Carlisle said. “Simple as that.
“I’m not going to lament our physical challenges because there’s five of us and there’s five of them. It’s not like it’s six of them out there.”
The Mavs (26-11) start a three-game road trip at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles against the Clippers, who sport the game’s top rebounder in DeAndre Jordan (13.6 per game). The Mavs play Tuesday at Sacramento and Wednesday at Denver.
The Kings are eighth in the league in rebounds with 44.7 per game, and the Nuggets are third with 46.1.
“We’ve just got to take the challenge collectively to conquer this thing,” Carlisle said. “And it’s tough because we’re going to be going up against some very physical teams coming up here, and the challenge is heightened even more.”
Shake, rattle and roll
Thanks to a series of minor earthquakes in the Irving area, the Mavs’ practice court had a few cracks it in when the team showed up for work Thursday.
Carlisle, however, wanted to know what all the commotion is about. When told about the cracks streaking up the free-throw line toward midcourt, Carlisle deadpanned: “So. Who cares?
“I was sitting in here and felt it. I consider it kind of a non-story.”
When a reporter told Carlisle that the reporter’s sources told him Carlisle was scared of the earthquake, Carlisle smiled and said: “Your sources were inaccurate.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760