DALLAS – Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is juggling a lot of balls right now, getting his guys ready for the final five games of the regular season and then the playoffs…but also having to decide if it’s more important to be “healthy” rather than “hot.”
“Our training staff is busy,” Carlisle said. “Our doctors have been busy. We’re trying to facilitate Mother Nature being a little nice to us.”
Rajon Rondo, Chandler Parsons and Richard Jefferson are all nursing injuries that kept them out of Monday’s practice, and Parsons’ knee might continue to be a concern as Phoenix visits the 46-31 Mavs on Wednesday. Carlisle said, “We want to win games,” but he tipped his hand a bit in the debate over whether “winning and momentum” is more important than health when he noted, “We’ve got 10 days or so or whatever it is until we’re looking right at the playoffs. Big picture-wise, health is of the utmost importance.”
And the flip side fixing the wobbly work of Monta Ellis might be Dallas’ key to the playoffs. Consider the following:
1) Ellis entered last weekend weekend launching threes at a high pace despite having made only 4 of his last 30 from the arc.
2) In the last 10 Mavs games before Saturday’s loss to the Warriors, he’d carried a 3.1 assist to 2.6 turnovers ratio.
3) He shot 5-of-9 from the line last week in a loss to Houston, dipping down to 72.9 percent free throw shooting over that same 10-game stretch.
4) Since the All-Star break, Ellis has played 12 minutes in clutch-time, and is 1-of-8 shooting. Pre-break, he shot 50 percent in clutch-time.
But even so, Tyson Chandler represents the Mavs’ self-confidence here when he cautions foes who desire to match-up with No. 7 playoff seed Dallas by cautioning, “Be careful what you wish for.” For that warning to come to fruition, it’ll be nice if the Mavs get hot, it’ll be critical for them to get healthy, and it simply must be demanded that Monta Ellis get right.