Monday, March 3, 2008

Lue headed to Dallas

With the upcoming addition of Tyronn Lue, the Mavericks have put together the team they plan to take in the playoffs. The veteran point guard is coming on board as Jason Kidd’s backup and should sign Tuesday.

“He’s a nice addition and we look forward to having him at practice and playing in his first game,” Avery Johnson said before the Jazz game.

Considered a solid floor general if not the classic point guard, Lue provides an experienced backup behind Kidd and eases the load on starting shooting guard Jason Terry. Johnson had used Terry as Kidd’s primary backup, but Lue alleviates that issue.

“He gives us stability at the backup point guard position,” Terry said. “A guy who’s been in the Finals before, a veteran with experience who is not going to turn the ball over and he can hit the open shot.”

Lue (6-0, 175) has logged 493 games (173 starts) over 10 NBA seasons, with career averages of 9.1 points and 3.4 assists, and was part of two championship teams with the Lakers. The Nebraska product is known for his quickness and he has a reputation as a solid locker room presence. The roster is at the 15-man maximum with Lue.

Sacramento released Lue last week clearing his way to join a contender in time for the postseason. Lue never played for the Kings after they acquired him in the Mike Bibby trade to Atlanta. Lue was nursing a calf injury, but he’s healthy now.

Since coming back from the All-Star break, the Mavs have completely revamped their point guard rotation and changed out a few pieces on the bench. The challenges for Johnson are considerable, though he’s not worried about the team’s mental state coming off tough losses at San Antonio and the Lakers.

“We don’t even want that spirit,” he said. “There’s no ‘beat you down’ here. We’re a positive team. We haven’t been together that long. We’ve been able to respond from some tough losses.”

He’s assimilating new players into the system, while trying to improve playoff positioning with just about 20 games left in the regular season. The Mavs began Monday in seventh place in the tight Western Conference race.

“We’re going to have to get going here soon,” Johnson said. “We’ve been laying the groundwork to really improve our season.”

Terry added: “Yesterday we were in fifth. Tomorrow we may be in fifth again. You know you’ve just got to win games, and win more than you lose. That’s what we’re focused on.”

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