Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Injuries and questions mount

It wasn’t so long ago when the Mavericks felt they saw a true glimpse of their team. The rotation was intact, the team was essentially healthy and the wins were piling up.

Some things don’t last.

Consecutive losses on the East Coast to a pair of teams with losing records exposed just how fragile the Mavs can be without a full deck. Offensive catalyst Devin Harris has been shelved since late January. Jerry Stackhouse, Erick Dampier and now Josh Howard have joined the ranks of the walking wounded.

The Mavs (34-17) have two games left before the All-Star break, including Wednesday night against Portland at American Airlines Center. The weeklong rest for everyone, save Dirk Nowitzki, couldn’t come at a better time.

But excuses, especially when it comes to injuries, aren’t part of the team culture. They may be a fact of NBA life, but the Mavs still suit up the reigning MVP and a supporting cast many consider deep.

“That’s something we visited about,” coach Avery Johnson said. “We don’t care who is in uniform. We have a high standard of excellence that we want to play to, how we want to play and what we want to do.

“We are clear on our system and try to make the necessary adjustments. Mentally and physically, we just haven’t been able to sustain throughout the whole game, and that’s what we need to do.”

Read the rest of this story and get a preview of the Blazers in today’s notebook at mavs.com.

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