Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chance to rebound & bond on homestand

There’s obviously frustration dissecting the last three losses against three of the top four seeds in the rugged Western Conference. The Mavericks held fourth-quarter leads against the Spurs, Lakers and Jazz before falling short.

“It’s obviously a little frustrating,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We’d love to win those games.”

But there’s also another way to look at it. The Mavs did hold fourth-quarter leads against Spurs, Lakers and Jazz. Having a chance to win, especially on the road, for a team in transition can’t be discounted. The cynic may say it’s looking through blue-colored glasses, but the Mavs were in position late in each of those games.

“We’re right there,” said point guard Jason Kidd, eight games into his new gig. “We’re right there. When you look at the schedule, we fought down to almost the last possession in a lot of these games. Unfortunately, we don’t like to lose, but we have to look at what we did right and also what we did wrong.”

Some of what went wrong isn’t exactly blatant. The missed free throws and turnovers are obvious factors, but there’s also the issue of largely unseen errors dealing with timing and positioning. Kidd is a directing an offense – and new teammates – on the fly. If just one person is a little unsure of a play, it can throw off everyone’s rhythm.

“Maybe we need to get used to each other a little more,” Nowitzki said. “If you want to win big games on the road, you’ve got to be one unit and everybody has got to know what the other man is doing on both ends of the floor. One little mistake down the stretch can cost you a game against those good teams.

“It’ll take a couple more games to complete what we’re doing [and] Jason getting all the defensive calls right. While he’s out there, you get tricks, things thrown at you and you’ve got to react like that and I don’t think it’s all natural yet.”

Read the rest of this note and get a Rockets’ preview in today’s notebook at

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