DALLAS – A tough challenge lies ahead tonight for the Dallas Mavericks as they try to make up for the loss of Shawn Marion and Elton Brand.
Starting with tonight’s 7:30 game against Toronto at American Airlines Center, Marion will miss at least three games with a sprained left medial collateral ligament. Brand, meanwhile, is in New York with his wife, who is expecting to have a baby sometimes tonight.
The losses of Marion and Brand puts a severe strain on a Mavs’ frontline that's already without Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery) possibly for the rest of this month.
“With the loss of Brand we lose some real toughness and a guy that’s experienced,’’ coach Rick
Carlisle said after this morning's shootaround. “He’s just been a real solid force for us, even though his stats aren’t real gaudy.
“So we’ve got to make up for that collectively. It’s going to be a challenging game.’’
The Mavs were already not a very good rebounding team. Thus, to take their top two rebounders
out of the equation – Marion is averaging 9.0 rebounds and Brand’s at 6.3 per game – leaves Dallas in a scrambling mode in terms of collecting its share of rebounds.
“Guys got to be ready to step up in their roles and make up for the losses of some key guys,’’ Carlisle said. “You’re talking about Nowitzki, Marion, Brand.
“That’s three of our best and more experienced players. So we’ve got our work cutout for us.’’
-- Dwain Price
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