DALLAS – Because several players came to American Airlines Center work out on their own a few weeks ago, the Dallas Mavericks were ahead of the game when they opened training camp Tuesday.
With the players antsy to get on the court, that made things much easier for coach Rick Carlisle during the first day of training camp.
“There were a lot of guys here through the month of September,’’ Carlisle said. “In a way the reason there weren’t any surprises today is we’ve been able to see most of these guys working for three weeks, so that really helps.’’
Carlisle used the first practice to start implementing the intracacies of his defensive strategies. He knows a solid defense could carry his team a long, long way.
“This was totally a defensive practice this morning -- all defense,’’ Carlisle said. “There was no
offensive stuff other than just simple drive-and-kick stuff to help set up a defensive situation.
“I just look at the roster and I just know that that’s got to be our emphasis. Defense, working on late-game situations.’’
Carlisle, of course, will not ignore the necessary steps to enhance his team's offense. He knows that wouldn’t be prudent.
“We’re going to work hard on our offense, but our major emphasis has got to be at the defensive end,’’ Carlisle said. “There’s three areas that we’ve really got to work at -- transition defense, take away three’s, one-on-one defense.
“We’ve got to be better at guarding the ball without fouling.’’
-- Dwain Price
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