The Mavericks know the Denver Nuggets will bring a more imposing style into the conference semifinals that start Sunday.
They also know they can't allow themselves to get sucked into the drama. They want to avoid a repeat of a skirmish that changed the complexion of a series in 2007.
"You can't lose your cool,'' Dirk Nowitzki said today after practice. "Maybe there for a moment, you have a little scuffle. But you don't want to throw punches or leave the bench like we saw a couple years ago with San Antonio and Phoenix. Stay calm, but also have emotion and play with fire. You got to control yourself.''
The Mavericks generally are mild mannered, but the heat of the moment does strange things to people.
Get J.R. Smith doing something crazy on the court, and who knows what might happen.
But Smith has gone out of his way leading up to the series that he will be on good behavior with regard to his consistent jousting with Mark Cuban and Antoine Wright.