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News » Shooters not yet on track Veterans, newcomers need time to get in synch, players say

Shooters not yet on track Veterans, newcomers need time to get in synch, players say

Shooters not yet on track Veterans, newcomers need time to get in synch, players say Forward Shawn Marion is in his first season with the Mavericks , but he's been in the NBA long enough to easily identify a troublesome trend.

Marion, who has helped the Mavericks improve defensively, said the team's offense has been sporadic.

The consistency isn't there yet for a team that has added six new players, three of whom have already started.

"Everybody hasn't clicked on all cylinders yet," said Marion, the 10th-year pro. "It's like one game it's one person and the next game it's somebody else. It's not all five or all 13 just yet. We're ready for that to start popping. Once that starts popping, it's going to be great."

Take the last two games for example. On Tuesday in a 96-85 home win against Utah, Dirk Nowitzki set a team record by scoring 29 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter. Jason Kidd added 19 points on 6-for-11 shooting, but Jason Terry struggled with just 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting.

The next day, however, Terry was 12-for-18 from the floor for 35 points in a 114-107 overtime loss at New Orleans. But Kidd scored just nine points on 3-for-12 shooting, and Nowitzki fouled out with 2:38 left in regulation and finished with only 12 points, ending his NBA-best streak of 29 regular-season games with at least 20 points.

"Offensively, we have to fix some stuff," Nowitzki said. "Usually when we get stops, we can run and get some easy baskets, but we haven't gotten that."

Coach Rick Carlisle, center Erick Dampier and Marion all said the Mavericks' inconsistency on offense is a product of new players trying to find their roles and blend in with the team's mainstays.

"It's just a matter of us getting used to one another and knowing where we like to catch the ball, what kind of shots we like," Dampier said. "It's still early. We have a good team. Obviously we want to be a lot better than we were at the beginning of the season and it's going to take time."

Maybe Wednesday's offensive performance was a good sign. The Mavericks had season highs for points (107) and shooting percentage (45.9).

The Mavericks rank 20th in the NBA in scoring (96.2 ppg) after finishing ninth last season (101.7 ppg). That's a product of poor shooting. The Mavericks rank 26th in field goal percentage (41.7) after finishing ninth a year ago (46.2).

One reason for the team's offensive decline can be attributed to missing the injured Josh Howard, who averaged 18 points last season.

This year's team has found a way to win without shooting lights out. The Mavs shot 39.5 percent against Utah, ending a streak of 22 consecutive losses when they shot less than 40 percent.

"We haven't played well yet offensively, but we've won games not shooting the ball well," Kidd said. "That's huge."

Injuries take toll: The Mavericks will probably have only 10 players available today against Toronto. Guard Quinton Ross (bruised lower back) and forward Drew Gooden (right rib cage muscle strain) didn't practice Friday. Gooden and forwards Josh Howard (left ankle surgery) and Tim Thomas (right knee surgery) aren't expected to play.

Mavericks SCHEDULE


Day Date Opponent TV Time

Sat 7 Toronto Ch. 21 7:30

Tue 10 Houston Ch. 21 7:30

Wed 11 at San Antonio Ch. 21 7:30

Fri 13 at Minnesota FSSW 7:00

Sun 15 at Detroit FSSW 5:00

Mon 16 at Milwaukee FSSW/NBA 7:00

Toronto Raptors at Mavericks

Scouting the Raptors

This will be Toronto's first time playing back-to-back nights. The Raptors are 3-2 and 1-1 on the road after beating New Orleans on Friday. ... Lincoln product Chris Bosh is averaging 29.0 points and 11.4 rebounds. ... Andrea Bargnani, the 7-foot center from Italy, is averaging 20.4 points and 6.0 rebounds, well above his career averages of 12.6 points and 4.4 boards. ... Toronto has scored more than 100 points in all five games and went into Friday ranked third in the NBA in scoring at 108.5 points per game. ... Bosh and Bargnani have the range to shoot the ball well from the perimeter, and veteran forward Hedo Turkoglu is a 3-point threat and is averaging 15.4 points.

Scouting the Mavericks

They are 3-2 after Wednesday's 114-107 overtime loss to New Orleans. ... The Mavericks swept Toronto last season, winning 96-86 on the road and 109-98 at home. ... Forwards Shawn Marion and Kris Humphries played for Toronto last season. ... The Mavericks have improved defensively but are shooting only 41.7 percent from the field. ... Center Erick Dampier recorded his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds against New Orleans. The Mavs are 34-11 when he records a double-double.

Brandon George

7:30 p.m. today, Ch. 21; ESPN-FM (103.3), KFLC-AM (1270 in Spanish)

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