Coach Rick Carlisle guided his turnover-plagued Mavs through an Anatomy/Physics lesson on Monday. The point of practice? To teach the fellas, 'You can't throw a ball through the nose of a defender and have it come out of his (rear) to a teammate,' the coach explained, working blue while Dallas is feeling blue due to an 0-3 road trip. A full Mavs practice report:
The Dallas Mavericks aren't just on a three-game losing streak. It's more than that -- and more troubling than that.
Over the last three games (at Boston, at Toronto and at Minny, all losses), the Mavs have turned the ball over an average of 21.7 times (28, 17, 20). In doing do they've gifting their opponents an average of 26 points per game off of turnovers (34, 26, 18).
For a club that has long taken pride in being the self-labeled "best passing team in the league,'' this is an embarrassment. And it's history in the making.
The last time the Dallas Mavericks turned the ball over at least 17 times in three consecutive games came in March of 1998. At that time, the streak extended to five.
The focus of Monday's practice, with the team back home at the AAC and preparing for a Tuesday visit from the Sixers? End the streak by taking care of the ball.
"It's on me,'' said Carlisle, shouldering the blame for the giveaways. "We've done uncharacteristic things. It's my job to teach better. We’ve got to work to correct it, I’ve got to teach these guys better and we’ve got to keep studying it. It's on me.''
It's more than just teaching, though. The turnovers are also, for instance, a result of the demands placed on O.J. Mayo, who is being asked to serve as the top scorer, a top ball-handler and a top distributor. Maybe Darren Collison needs to be put in different places to succeed, as his entry-pass work was a failing in Indiana last year, too. Maybe Derek Fisher's easy adjustment to a new club seemed too easy at the start. ...
"Whenever your best player is out you’re going to struggle to have an identity,” said Fisher of the 11-13 Mavs. “That’s who the franchise is built around, that’s who the team is recognized most by, is by No. 41. He makes everybody’s game more efficient and better, so as soon as he gets back on the court I think the identity of the team can build around that.''
Well, speaking of Dirk Nowitzki: He was in his practice uniform and did work up a sweat during the team's session Rookie Jae Crowder was the last man on the floor ... Center Chris Kaman was excused from practice on Monday in order to attend a funeral. Kaman is expected to rejoin the club for the Tuesday morning shootaround ... That "nose/(rear end)'' quote, by the way, Carlisle attributed to the late Dick Harter, the long-time college and NBA coach. ...
At the end of the workout, Carlisle exited the main AAC floor where the team practiced, moved down the tunnel and requested that Dahntay Jones join Rick for some one-on-one tutoring.
The pair worked on a series of basic shooting exercises. And if you don't know why, you obviously haven't read your Mavs Morning Donuts yet.
THE FINAL WORD
"Keep after it. Don't give up. You can do this.'' -- Assistant coach Brad Davis, trying to encourage Roddy Beaubois after what was seemingly a difficult practice.