Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks puzzled why they play so poorly at home

Tyson Chandler, left, said the Mavericks need to do a better job of feeding off home-crowd energy.
Tyson Chandler, left, said the Mavericks need to do a better job of feeding off home-crowd energy. AP

They have no issues with what they’ve been able to accomplish on the road.

Their failures on their home court, however, are what’s puzzling to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs have pieced together a 19-10 record on the road. The 19 wins lead the NBA this season, and are only four victories fewer than the Mavs’ total last season, when they finished with a 23-18 record on the road.

Thus, they have established continuity on the road.

Seeded fifth in the Western Conference, the Mavs are just 15-8 this season at American Airlines Center.

That tepid home record is worse than the home marks after Thursday’s games of seventh-seeded San Antonio (19-7), ninth-seeded New Orleans (17-7) and 10th-seeded Oklahoma City (14-7).

It’s almost an embarrassment to the Mavs that they haven’t been able to protect their home court, especially when they have the NBA’s longest sellout streak at 537 games, having sold out every game since Dec. 15, 2001.

“For some reason we just have a mojo to our step and we kind of band together on the road,” center Tyson Chandler said. “We’ve got to do a better job of feeding off our crowd and giving our crowd the energy, and playing with the same type of hunger that we do on the road.

“Rather than waiting to respond to our crowd, we need to give them something to cheer about so we can start riding some of that energy.”

The Mavericks play host to the Portland Trail Blazers at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

As for the road success, “it’s just rolling that way, but we’ll take it,” guard Monta Ellis said. “We just got to do better at home and put some more wins together and try to stay in this run in the West.”

The problem with having a poor record at home is that it undermines obtaining a seed of four or higher and having home-court advantage at least in the first round of the playoffs.

On the flip side, the Mavs know if they can’t get home-court advantage in the first round, they’re confident enough to walk into anybody’s arena and pull out a victory.

“We’ve got to do better at home,” Chandler said. “We’ve got to do a better job of really locking in and executing.”

Rondo out awhile

With high hopes of trying to avoid surgery, point guard Rajon Rondo will miss the next three games while recuperating from an orbital fracture to his left eye and a nasal fracture.

The nine-year veteran suffered the injury Jan. 31 at Orlando when teammate Richard Jefferson inadvertently kneed him in the face.

Since then, Rondo has missed games against Minnesota, Golden State and Sacramento, and will be shelved for at least three more games, Saturday night against Portland, Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers and Wednesday against Utah.

If the strategy used by the Mavs and Rondo works, the next time Rondo plays may not be until they face the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Feb. 19. That will be 19 days from the time Rondo was injured.

Rondo is still undergoing additional testing and is being evaluated by the Mavs.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @dwainprice

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