Practice All-Access: 'Wood & West Work

Big Wood and Delonte West so some work, Roddy B and Dirk engage in a 3-point shootout, Lamar addresses the boos and Rick compares Marion to Artest and Michael Cooper as an NBA Player of the Year candidate ... It's Monday's Practice All-Access:



THE LEAD STORY Both Brendan Haywood and Delonte West were in their practice unis participated in Monday's working in at least a limited way.

That, and their upgrade to "questionable'' for Tuesday's visit from the Rockets, is the good news.
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"We didn't do a lot of live contact things today, but they went through a lot of other stuff," coach Rick Carlisle said. "So they're inching closer."

The bad news for Haywood (sprained right knee and five missed games) and West (fractured right ring finger, out since Feb. 15) is that "inching'' is getting them "itchy.''

Haywood will be re-eveluated after Tuesday's morning shootaround. West is talking about wanting to play Thursday's game against the Miami Heat but that seems unrealistic.

"I ain't going to lie to you, that s--- hurts," said West, who seemed to endure a bit of pain during extensive both-hand dribbling drills with assistant Darrell Armstrong.

Oh, and DB.com has the practice video of that drill:



THE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES ... Carlisle keeps pushing for Shawn Marion as the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, so much so that when it was mentioned by a reporter how often big men win the trophy, the coach rattled off stories of defensive excellence featuring Marion-sized stoppers like Artest and Michael Cooper.

"He used to cover Bird, and then he's cover Jordan,'' Rick said of Cooper, making the comparison to Marion, who "is unique in that he's covering all four (non-center) positions.''

For Marion's part, he's talking team-first, not individual stuff.

"We're just trying to stack up W's right now and do what we need to do to take care of business,'' said Marion, tossing out the "we's'' with the same focus he uses to cover the best players in the NBA.

MAVSELLANEOUS "It's just about playing now,'' Odom said. "What I went through, I went through. I'm in a good place now. I'm ready to just play basketball." ... Among Delonte's rehab tricks: "The more I dig in the rice bucket, and work on it, crank on it, get the motion back, the more I'm able to do.'' The ric bucket! ... Waived center Sean Williams is eligible to return to the Mavs' D-League team and a source tells DB.com that the Legends would like to make his return to Frisco happen. ... MDug Stat that speaks to some Mavs offensive troubles: The Mavs have eight players who take five-plus shots per game. Only one of them shoots above 43.9 percent. (Dirk, at 45.8 percent). Five of of those fellas are shooting under 42.8 percent. ... Two of the final fellas on the floor: Dirk and Roddy B, engaging in a 3-point shootout under the supervision of Terry Stotts. The UberMan is your winner, but Beaubois' confidence was soaring, I think, just due to the competition itself.

MOST INTERVIEWED Rick Carlisle did his thing and Dirk snuck out the sidedoor and Delonte was still working on the court so Lamar Odom was the Mav who drew the biggest after Monday's practice.

"You wanna talk to me?'' LO said, and he seemed truly puzzled.

Of course, the Dallas Mavericks have been on the road during the latest week of LO controversy, so this was a first crack for many at asking him about his level of play and the booing that has become a part of his life in home games at the AAC.

"I've never been booed in my life," he said. "So if it's to the point where I'm playing a basketball game at home and I'm getting booed, I would say ... no disrespect ...but maybe I think people took things the wrong way.

"I admitted that I was out of shape for different reasons when I came into camp. I admitted what I've been through. I was honest about how my summer went, how I almost left the game and everything I went through. And I think people just took it the wrong way, like if I had a reason not to be here _ or I didn't want to be here. ... I think people took that the wrong way.''

Odom praised Carlisle and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for caring enough to have discussions with him over the weekend.

"Man-to-man talks,'' he called them.

But even though he's a man ... he is clearly still hurt by the reception he is getting from Mavs fans.

"It usually happens on the road,'' he said. "I've always had a lot of pride to play for the name on the back of my jersey. I've always been more prideful to play for the name that's on the front of my jersey, whether it be 'USA' or whether it be the Mavericks or the other team I came from. I always had a lot of pride. ... So it was a little confusing and a little hurtful, but it's the sport world. I understand. We're in a business that it's all about what have you done lately, or the last game or the next game?"
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Odom kept saying the reaction confuses him. Reporters kept wanting to know if it also "angers'' him.

"I would say confused,'' he said. "I wouldn't say angry, because there are a lot of sides to Lamar Odom, know what I mean? Sportsman is one of them. I'm a father, a husband, someone's son, someone's cousin. So there's a lot of roles that I have to play in life. Basketball is just one of them. So I can't let it get me angry because I have a lot of other roles to fulfill."

THE FINAL WORD "Right now, we're in ramp-it-up mode." -- Rick Carlisle.




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