For the most part so far this season, the Dallas Mavericks have not had problems scoring the basketball. However, one of the issues that has caused the Mavs to have a record of just 7-6 through 13 games is the defense they are playing.
Dallas proved that they can hang in any game with their offense, with or without Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas scored 114 points Wednesday night against the New York Knicks and were clicking on all cylinders offensively. But their defense didn't put their stamp on the game, allowing New York to go on an extended fourth quarter run. Fortunately, that run didn't cost the Mavs the game, but head coach Rick Carlisle knows that if the Mavs are going to continue to get better, they must clamp down on the defensive end.
When asked what he learned after Wednesday night's game, Carlisle was very blunt in his answer.
"That our pick-and-roll defense was horrible," Carlisle said, referring to what happened against the Knicks in the fourth quarter, when they went on a 21-10 fourth quarter run. "That was the first thing. We've got to be better in that area. I like the way we hung in. We did some good things to get a lead, but we really just outscored them during that stretch. We just weren't able to get much traction defensively."
However, Carlisle knows that the Mavs will not go far if they have a mindset to outscore the opposition. He knows better defense, along with improved rebounding and less turnovers, will help improve this team even more.
Let's be honest, Dallas has fared admirably without their superstar Dirk Nowitzki. But if they don't start improving on defense, the Mavs will not go anywhere this season, with or without their former MVP.
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