It's the great debate of the late regular season: should the Dallas Mavericks let players including Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, and Dirk Nowitzki get some rest off the court, even at the cost of a win? DallasBasketball.com begins the discussion here, with help from Annabel down in the Mavs basement ...
Said Tyson Chandler: "If we're playing the right way, the right type of basketball, going into the playoffs, I feel like we're a dangerous team. If we're not playing, I don't care if we're the No. 3 seed, it doesn't matter. You're going to make an early exit anyway."
Coach Rick Carlisle may have tipped his hand a bit this week when discussing the matter.
"We want to win games,'' he said of his seventh-place, 46-31 Mavs. “We’ve got 10 days or so or whatever it is until we’re looking right at the playoffs. Big picture-wise, health is of the utmost importance.”
We've got Carlisle video -- and Dirk on the subject of those "twigs and berries'' here.
Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness) sat out practice on Monday and Tuesday and it appears unlikely he will play against Phoenix tonight. Rajon Rondo (hyperextended left knee) returned to practice Tuesday. Richard Jefferson (jammed toe) was a partial participant in the Tuesday workout.
It's an 8:30 p.m. tip for TV at the AAC tonight. And again, while a win doesn't matter in the standings ...
"We definitely need a home win," Dirk Nowitzki said.
Phoenix (39-39) was buried Tuesday in Atlanta, scoring 26 points in the second half on the way to a 96-69 loss. The Suns aren't quite eliminated from the playoffs, though, and you'll recall their home win over Dallas a couple of weeks ago exposed some Mavs problems in many ways.
Nevertheless, with Oklahoma City's loss to San Antonio on Tuesday, Dallas clinches its 14th playoff berth in the last 15 seasons. With a win tonight against the Suns or a New Orleans loss at Memphis, the Mavs will be locked into the seventh seed. ... and as I've said often over the course of those 15 years ... Do not take this for granted.
The "health-vs.-hot'' debate is one Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is willing to engage in. We've also got him discussing his recent health, that flagrant foul, and even German beer after practice ...
The Mavericks have just two wins in eight games, had a losing record in March, and are 0-3 this year against the Suns, tonight looking for the first series win since the franchise won the title in 2011.
"Be careful what you ask for.'' -- TY, responding to the notion that other Western foes might desire to play Dallas.
See that and more from Tyson Chandler (and Dirk's late work, and Rondo's post-practice practice) only in Mavs Premium, a video report from inside the AAC basement, here.
Phoenix doesn't have Knight or Len for tonight yet remains a threat to score at will against Dallas. (And yes, I say that despite what the Suns just did in Atlanta.) Phoenix' offensive issues seem to disappear against Dallas, which has allowed 113.3 points per in these three losses.
The creative team at Mavs HQ continues to crank out fine and entertaining work ...
Now we just need the actual guards to play well enough to merit their presence in a video. In other words to "play'' better than they "act.''
Rondo has hovered around that 34-percent mark from the line for far too long now. The negative impact of this is deep -- including the fact that Carlisle can't always keep his four-time All-Star point guard on the floor to close.
"In practice,'' Rondo is quoted as saying, "at the end, we'll have to make free throws. If not, a lot of pushups are involved. I'm serious!''
Being serious about making free throws would be highly helpful here.
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"We're trying to facilitate Mother Nature being a little nice to us." -- Rick Carlisle.