Dallas Mavericks

Mavs not a finished product

DALLAS – They like what they’ve gotten out of Rajon Rondo since they acquired him in a trade with the Boston Celtics on Dec. 18. But in no way do the Dallas Mavericks believe they’re a finished product just yet.

"We’ve got a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to get better at,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Friday morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center. "We’re never going to say we’re any kind of a finished product on Jan. 23 of any season.

"We’re going to make progress.’’

The Mavs (30-13) hope to continue making progress tonight at 7 when they host the Chicago Bulls (28-16) at AAC.

The second half of the season for the Mavs started with Monday’s 103-95 win in Memphis. The Mavs also won a road game in Minnesota on Wednesday, 98-75, and will continue what amounts to a brutal second half of the season with tonight’s encounter against a Bulls team they beat in Chicago, 132-129, in double overtime on Dec. 2.

"The second half of the schedule is unbelievably difficult,’’ said Carlisle, whose team is 11-4 in games Rondo has played in. "This is another one of those difficult games really to kick it off.

"These are the kind of tests that help teams grow together and you’ve got to go through these struggles to get better as a basketball team.’’

Tonight’s game starts a stretch where the Mavs play six game sin nine days. In addition to tonight’s contest against the Bulls, Dallas play at New Orleans on Sunday, entertain Memphis on Tuesday, play at Houston on Wednesday, and then play in Miami on Jan, 30 and in Orlando in Jan. 31.

In all, the Mavs play 12 of their 16 games this month on the road. So far, Carlisle said of this month’s games: "It’s gone by fast.

"It’s been hard, but we’ll go day-to-day, hour-to-hour and whistle-to-whistle and make the best of it. We’ll get ready for tonight and throw the ball up and throw the kitchen sink at them.’’