DENVER --It's no surprise to Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle that the four teams vying for the last three Western Conference playoff spots are all dealing with difficult schedules down the stretch.
"It's supposed to be hard -- it's NBA basketball,'' Carlisle said following Tuesday's practice. "It’s the best basketball in the world, so look, you either rise to the challenge or you don’t.
"And right now our mindset is that we’ve got to rise above all the challenges, but we’ve got to do it collectively.''
Carlisle already has the recipe for his team's success.
"We’re a team that needs each other, particularly on the defensive and rebounding side,'' he said. "If we do those two things -- our offense always flows better -- but we get tough matchups every single night for 21 games and that’s OK.
"We’ve got to meet the challenge as a group.''
The Mavs, Golden State, Phoenix and Memphis are in a heated tussle for playoff spots sixth, seventh and eighth out West. One of those teams will not make the playoffs.
-- Dwain Price
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