Rick Carlisle has figured out that the Mavericks’ best
chance to play good defense is to use heavy doses of zone to compliment their
And really, it might be the other way around. The zone is
perhaps the more used of the two in a lot of games.
“We’re trying to be the best zone team in
basketball,’’ Carlisle says. “It’s challenging because
you see a lot of different things from every team. But it helped us (in
Atlanta). It actually is a more difficult defense to play than man to
man. You have to be much more alert and there are more complexities to it and
there are a lot of things going on. Some nights we use it more than others.’’
That defense is going to get a supreme test this week.
The Mavericks play four games in five nights starting
Tuesday at home against Detroit. After that, they are at Oklahoma City and San
Antonio before returning Saturday to AAC for the circus … oops, we mean
the Miami Heat.
The Pistons are a relatively soft touch these days, but the
following three opponents are going to put the zone to the test.
What will help is if the Mavericks continue to get inspired
play out of all the players who would be considered vital support personnel.
After the 98-93 win over Atlanta, Carlisle singled out every one of the players
in his postgame comments – DeShawn Stevenson, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler,
J.J. Barea and Brendan Haywood.
All had positive impacts against the Hawks.
Getting that on a regular basis is the key to everything –
even a good zone defense.