DALLAS -- If the Dallas Mavericks defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight when the two teams collide at 6:30 at American Airlines Center, it'll likely be because the Mavs kept their turnovers down.
"This game tonight is more about how we come out with our aggression and our force,'' coach Rick Carlisle said after Sunday morning's shoot around. "We’ve got to do better and we’ve got to take care of the ball.
"Taking care of the ball has been the decisive factor when we lost those two close games.''
OKC turned 13 Mavs' turnovers into 23 points when the Thunder nipped Dallas, 111-105 in overtime, on Dec. 27. When the two teams met again on Jan. 18, OKC prevailed 117-114 in overtime after they turned 16 Mavs' turnovers into 24 points.
Then on Feb. 4, the Thunder got 23 points off 14 Mavs' turnovers en route to claiming a 112-91 victory. Thus, protecting the ball tonight is a must for the Mavs.
"We’ve got to be more aggressive, we’ve got to play more efficiently,'' Carlisle said. "Rebounding has been a real challenge for us against these guys -- taking care of the ball is paramount.
"We’ve had a lot of turnovers in our two close losses, and in the third game that wasn’t very close, we turned it over early and there were too many catastrophic plays. We’ve got to raise our level of physical aggression, and we’ve got to play good.''
-- Dwain Price
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