Monday, December 17, 2007

Getting closer to Mavs basketball

Jason Terry was asked if the Mavs view the three-game homestand starting tonight as the light at the end of the tunnel. It does, after all, complete an exhausting stretch of 19 games in 32 days that featured five back-to-backs and never more than one day off at a time.

Terry, though, sees it as another beginning.

“It’s another five-game stretch that we’re trying to put together,” he said. “The last one was decent, but it wasn’t quite up to our expectations. So we start one off tonight and we know what we have to do.

“We know what we have to do on defense. We know the rating we have to achieve to be successful. We know offensive we have to play with movement, swing ball and get out in transition, so the goals are there. Everybody is on the same page and now we can really see what we’re capable of doing as a team.”

Inconsistency was the catchword for the first 20 games. The Mavs set goals for the last five games, Nos. 21-25 on the schedule, and emerged 4-1. There appears to be progress, especially in the last two games.

The Mavs held New Orleans and Houston to an average of 81.5 points. Offensively, Avery Johnson pointed to better ball movement, spacing and scoring balance.

“It’s fun to watch the way the ball has been moving,” he said. “It seems like it’s energized us more, even on the defensive end.”

So are they finally playing Maverick basketball?

“It’s closer,” Johnson said. “We’d still like to score 100, but when teams have been getting in the low 80s, we’ll take that any day. We’ve been having energy, too. We’ve been really alert.”

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