FOLLOWILL 5: Climbing Every Mavs Mountain

Staying in LA. Playing without Dirk. Climbing mountains. It's all part of this week's visit with Mavs play-by-play voice Mark Followill as he checks in from the road trip to take your questions in Followill's 5!

1 The Dallas Mavericks have this back-to-back in LA. How advantageous is it to play in the same building in LA on back-to-back nights, as opposed to other road challenges?

FOLLOWILL: It's a great advantage if only because anything you can do to shave some wear-and-tear off the player is helpful. The same hotel, the same restaurant, the same locker room, no jet lag. ... Those nights/mornings when you arrive in a town at 3 a.m. or whatever and then have to play that night, those are demanding. That's not to say that the LA back-to-back is an easy one; that second team poses quiet a challenge. And the Lakers will be rested. But there aren't many teams that handle second nights and road games better than Dallas. They won't sleep in their own beds, but at least it'll be the same beds from the night before.

2 When you guys are on the road, who hangs out with whom? Do the media guys hang out with the players?

FOLLOWILL: I'll hang out with Coop, Sefko, Sneed, Victor Villalba, and then of course all the guys from the TV crew. There isn't really interaction with the players, though. I'm here to do a job, not to try to be buddies with the players. Certainly there are relationships there. But not to the extent where we're calling each others' rooms and heading out for dinner.

3 Mark, thanks for being a part of When you have time away from basketball, how do you spend it?

FOLLOWILL: I've made a pretty big commitment to my personal fitness, so working out, running, that sort of thing, is important to me. In the summer my wife and I do some traveling, though because the job requires so much of that, that's not always the treat it should be. I have my TV shows I watch -- anything about World War II, for instance -- and I catch up on my reading. And then I play with Phoebe the Greyhound.

4 Mark, do you agree with Rick Carlisle's view that the Utah and Phoenix games featured 'playoff atmosphere'? Did those games help ready the Mavs for what's ahead?

FOLLOWILL: I don't know how it came through on the telecasts, but yes, given the circumstances those teams are in, and then Utah's place always being like that, I see what Rick is saying. Having said that, the atmosphere we saw last weekend won't match what we'll see in, say, Portland, or once the Mavs are hopefully involved in a second-round series. The intensity keeps cranking upwards ...

5 Fish says Dirk's two poor shooting games are actually a positive because they establish that Dallas can win without him. Thoughts?

FOLLOWILL: I totally buy that. Dirk's struggles forced other guys to find ways to help, and that is always good training for what might be demanded of them on a rare off-night for Dirk. He can't be asked to shoot 50 percent every night -- even though he sort of does do that -- and so yes, if he's got something less than his A-game going, other guys now have a taste of the success it will take, 12 guys deep.


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