Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Avery: “Play like it’s our last game”

The schedule says 12 games remain, starting tonight with the Clippers visiting American Airlines Center. Considering the indefinite loss of Dirk Nowitzki and the three-game losing streak and the playoff situation, times appear desperate.

If there was ever a time of urgency, this is it.

“We’re staying together,” Avery Johnson said today. “Nobody has lost any hope. Guys are very positive, but at the same time we want them to understand that this is a critical time of the season.

“We’ve got to play like it’s our last game. I haven’t seen that as much as I wanted to. This is the last game. We don’t have 11 more games. We’ve got to play it like it’s our last game. I think once we do that I think we’ll be in good shape.”

Johnson can’t complain with the defensive focus lately – Boston and San Antonio combined to shoot less than 34 percent. Putting the ball in the basket has been another issue.

There hasn’t been just one breakdown offensively, so getting it fixed involves a total team effort. Johnson talked about getting more easy baskets on the break, guards hitting the boards, better execution in the halfcourt, attacking the basket more and getting to the line.

“The way we’re going to be able to dictate how we handle this game is by hustling the whole game, trying to stay away from the little mistakes we make from time to time, move the basketball and really be strong with the ball,” Johnson said.

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