Dallas Mavericks

Board shame: Mavericks must improve rebounding, Carlisle says

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, left, drives to the basket against Mavericks counterpart Zaza Pachulia earlier this season. Cousins burned the Mavs for 17 rebounds on Jan. 5. Pachulia averages a team-leading 10.6 boards for Dallas.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, left, drives to the basket against Mavericks counterpart Zaza Pachulia earlier this season. Cousins burned the Mavs for 17 rebounds on Jan. 5. Pachulia averages a team-leading 10.6 boards for Dallas. AP

His team’s ability, or inability, to rebound has almost become a daily part of Rick Carlisle’s talks with the media.

As coach of the Dallas Mavericks, Carlisle knows the value rebounds have on the outcome of a game. And he knows when the Mavs (33-28) complete their six-game homestand at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at American Airlines Center against the Sacramento Kings, whoever wins the rebound battle could determine who ultimately wins the game.

It’s a mindset knowing that that’s what you need to help your team, and that’s part of winning is us getting rebounds.

Mavs point guard Deron Williams

“We’ve got to [rebound] with five guys,” Carlisle said after Wednesday’s practice. “We’re a little undersized in many situations, but we just got to do it with persistence and just an all-out commitment.

“It’s possession of the ball. It’s beyond important. It’s critical.”

How critical? When asked his philosophy on how many players he sends to the offensive and defensive glass, Carlisle said: “On defense, we send five.

“On offense, it’s none of your business. I’m not going to talk about our schemes to the press.”

While that comment by Carlisle received a chuckle from the assembled media, it’s no laughing matter that the Mavs are 14-5 when they outrebound their opponent, 18-22 when they lose that battle, and 1-1 when the rebounding numbers are deadlocked.

We’ve got to [rebound] with five guys. We’re a little undersized in many situations, but we just got to do it with persistence and just an all-out commitment. It’s possession of the ball. It’s beyond important. It’s critical.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle

The Mavs also aren’t chuckling at the fact that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins collected 35 points and 17 rebounds when Dallas edged Sacramento 117-116 in double overtime on Jan. 5 after a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Deron Williams.

“Well, we got to keep a body on him and we got to hope he misses a few,” Carlisle said of Cousins. “A big thing is mixing up your coverages and keeping him off the free-throw line, so we have to make a great effort to do those things.

“I don’t know of a big guy in the league that presents the litany of problems that he does because he’s great in the post, he’s great driving it, he’s a great passer, he can really shoot the ball mid-range and he’s a legitimate 3-point threat. It’s a lot of things you got to deal with.”

Dallas is 14-5 when it outrebounds its opponent, 18-22 when it loses the rebounding battle and 1-1 when it is tied..

Williams explained that the key to rebounding is simply the mentality of going to get the ball instead of watching others do so. Williams also admits that early in his career he didn’t concern himself as much with rebounds.

“My first couple of years in the league I developed bad habits because I played with Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur, and they didn’t like the guards coming in there and taking their rebounds,” Williams said. “So at times my tendencies were just to sit and watch.

“I just got to make a conscious effort to go back and get them and help our bigs.”

I don’t know of a big guy in the league that presents the litany of problems that he does because he’s great in the post, he’s great driving it, he’s a great passer, he can really shoot the ball mid-range and he’s a legitimate 3-point threat. It’s a lot of things you got to deal with.

Carlisle on Kings center DeMarcus Cousins

The challenge for Williams and the Mavs against Sacramento is twofold, because Kings point guard Rajon Rondo is the second-best rebounding guard (6.4 per game) in the NBA behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook. The Mavs must focus on details against the Kings, including boxing out Rondo.

“This is one of those games where I really have to pay attention, because if I’m sitting there watching, it’s going to be my man getting the rebound,” Williams said. “So I’ve got to be conscious of where he is and box him out and try to keep an eye on him.

“It’s a mindset knowing that that’s what you need to help your team, and that’s part of winning is us getting rebounds. A lot of times out there we’re out there [with a] small [lineup] on the court, and if the guards don’t rebound we’re not going to be able to compete on the boards.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

Kings at Mavericks

7:30 p.m. Thursday, FSSW

Coming up short

Oklahoma City leads the NBA with a +7.4 rebounding differential, the margin between a team’s average rebounds per game and the average of its opponent. The Mavericks bring up the league’s bottom five in the category:

Own

reb.

Reb.

diff.

26. Dallas

42.9

-3.4

27. Washington

40.8

-3.7

28. LA Lakers

43.0

-3.7

29. Atlanta

43.9

-4.4

30. Philadelphia

41.6

-4.6

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