With the four days off before Christmas and three more through the New Year, Avery Johnson's actually been able to hold some meaningful practice time. Remember, they went through that stretch of 19 games in 32 days which really doesn't allow much time to do much or risk burning out players much too early.
A lot of times you hear coaches talk about what they've added to the playbook or so forth with additional practice time. In the Mavs' case, it's what they threw out.
"I'm all about finding out what doesn't work and we found out some situations that just don't work for this basketball team so we threw that out," Johnson said. "We cut down on the playbook a little bit and just really emphasized some of our technique, especially with defensive stance and positioning, communication and really making contact and being physical on rebounding."
Defense and rebounding have been pretty solid in the last two games. The Mavs held the Hawks and Warriors to 41.7% and 41.8% percent shooting respectively. The Hawks scored 84 points and Golden State managed just 99, well below their season average of 108.5. And, in the two games, the Mavs hold a 94-75 edge on the boards.
-- Jeff Caplan