As they wind down one of the toughest months in recent franchise history, life is not getting any easier for the Dallas Mavericks.
Fresh off consecutive losses to the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Pelicans, the Mavs now face the prospect of playing four games in five days — in four cities.
The long walk on the plank continues Tuesday night at 7:30 when the Mavs (30-15) host the physical Memphis Grizzlies (32-12). From there, Dallas hits the road for games Wednesday in Houston, Friday in Miami and Saturday in Orlando.
The jam packed schedule — which includes Dallas playing 12 of its 16 January games on the road — has the Mavs doing everything but waving the white flag.
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“The rest of this week is a murderer’s [row] week,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Monday’s practice. “It’s like a week-long playoff series against six different teams.
“These are all physical, smash-mouth type teams and they’re all experienced teams that are going to be very motivated to beat us, and so it’s very challenging. But this is how it is in the Western Conference and we’ve got to meet these challenges.”
Another challenge for the Mavs is trying to get adjusted to new point guard Rajon Rondo. The Mavs are 11-7 since acquiring Rondo on Dec. 18 in a trade with Boston. They were 19-8 before acquiring the flashy playmaker.
Rondo insists the transition from the Celtics has gone smoothly, and he is especially thrilled about his relationship with Carlisle.
“Rick and I have been talking non-stop daily, [sending] text messages,” Rondo said. “I like his honesty — he’s pretty straight-forward.
“That’s what you need from your coach, especially me being the point guard out there on the floor. You always have to be on the same page.”
Rondo, who shot free throws after practice as Carlisle shagged down the balls, acknowledged that the pressure to help the Mavs secure another NBA title doesn’t bother him.
“People always counted me out my entire career, so it doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “I do what I do, and I’m pretty good at what I do.
“I play basketball for a living, which is the biggest blessing of my life, so I don’t feel any pressure. It’s just basketball.”
Chandler feeling fine
A day after he collided knees with New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis, center Tyson Chandler said Monday his left knee is feeling just fine.
Chandler also added that he never felt like his season was coming to an end as he lay sprawled on the floor in the third quarter of Sunday’s 109-106 loss to the Pelicans.
“Because of the way [Davis] hit me, I could tell that it was most likely a bone bruise,” Chandler said. “I didn’t feel like any pop or anything like that, or I didn’t feel like I was in a bad position.
“It was more of knee-on-knee and stuff, felt most like a bone bruise, but I just couldn’t put weight on it. That’s why I tried to get back to the locker room to get it calmed down.”
And once Chandler got it calmed down and X-rays proved negative, he missed just 9:02 of clock time before he was back in the game.
“Anytime you get contact like that and you hit yourself in the knee area, you really don’t know what’s going on until the pain kind of calms down,” Chandler said. “It was just a situation where there was a lot of pain and then just waiting for it to calm down, see what kind of pressure I could put on it.
“Once I got in the back and after a little while, the pain started to gradually calm down. I knew that it was probably just more a bone bruise or something like that.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760