DALLAS _ With the schedule coming fast and furious, the Dallas Mavericks may not be able to jump off to a fast start. Especially since they’ll be trying to work Lamar Odom, Delonte West and Vince Carter into their rotation.
“It might take awhile if we hit our peak, but also the games are going to keep coming and you don’t want to fall far behind early,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “It’s not a normal season.
“You want to be sharp at the beginning. At least if you’re not as sharp, still find ways to stay around in games and win them when it comes down to it. That’s what good teams do, and hopefully we’ll find a way.’’
With eight players age 32 or older and with the Mavs facing 22 back-to-backs in this 66-game season, Nowitzki is trying to be realistic about what to expect this season.
“Some nights might be a little ugly,’’ he said. “We might be tired some in a lot of games, where we can still have guys come in and give us some energy from the bench, and then we find a way to hang around and with the ability to close, which we had last year.
“They’ll see some games here early and be able to hang around early, and hit our peak a little later.’’
Coach Rick Carlisle has kept the playbook simple so he won’t overload the new players. The short training camp dictated that process.
“In a two-week training camp you’re not going to have all the kind of stuff that you would normally have in, but we’ll be ready to go,’’ Carlisle said. “It’s the reality, so we’ve got to roll with it and we’re looking forward to it.
“We’ll find out where we are come Sunday, for sure.’’
It's shaping up to be another season to remember for the Mavs, who have five new faces on their roster.
“We’d love to have two more weeks and have a regular camp, but all the other 29 teams are dealing with the same thing,’’ Nowitzki said. “I think teams are going to take awhile (to get on a winning roll), especially teams that have a bunch of new guys.
“It’s going to take awhile to get used to playing off each other. It is a unique situation, because there’s not a lockout every year, so we have to make it work as players.’’
The Mavs have no choice but to make it work. Starting with Sunday’s regular opener at home against Heat.
“The first couple of weeks might be a little sloppy,’’ Nowitzki said. “But it’s still about being sharp when it comes down to the end and finding ways to win games.’’
-- Dwain Price
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