Saturday, January 5, 2008

Less practice doesn’t mean less work

The Mavericks left Dallas after having a basketball version of a football walk-through on the American Airlines Center practice court. The light Saturday afternoon session, which also included film study, is another example of the team’s evolving practice strategy.

There’s a time to go hard and a time to pull back. The Mavs (22-11) and their three-game winning streak head into a Sunday afternoon date at Minnesota, so Saturday was one of those pulling-back times.

“We’re a smart, veteran team,” said Jerry Stackhouse, who’s often on a limited practice schedule. “Even though we have practice and we’re in there, not the whole practice is about running and wearing guys’ legs out.

“Sometimes it’s just a mental day where we’re going over coverages and things that we’re looking to do in the next game. It’s not as taxing as pounding and pounding. Some days it’s just about focus.”

This version of the Mavs doesn’t respond well those grueling, three-hour workouts, coach Avery Johnson has learned. They once did, but with a nucleus and system in place for several years, it’s no longer necessary.

“Practice? We’re talking about practice,” Devin Harris quipped, summoning his inner Allen Iverson.

Read the rest of this note, get updated injury news, check in on Trenton Hassell and Dirk Nowitzki, plus a look at the Timberwolves in today’s notebook at

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