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News » Waiting game persists Mavericks eager to get Howard, Marion on the court together

Waiting game persists Mavericks eager to get Howard, Marion on the court together

Waiting game persists Mavericks eager to get Howard, Marion on the court together Dirk Nowitzki is as curious as you are.

He's eager to see what the Mavericks look like and admits that, so far, nobody knows.

Basically, he likes his team, even if he's flying blind in that analysis. Until Shawn Marion and Josh Howard are on the court together, Nowitzki can't make any judgments, even if he's optimistic about the possibilities.

"I'm kind of waiting to see how we look,'' Nowitzki said. "We got to find out if that lineup works with Josh at shooting guard, Marion at small forward, me at power forward and whoever at center.

"I really like what we did [in the off-season]. I got to admit, I'm impressed. But we got to all come together and get Josh on the court.''

There are no guarantees. Howard has yet to play in the preseason and isn't expected to tonight against Cleveland. Marion is out at least another two games.

It's a virtual certainty that Howard and Marion will have to get comfortable working with each other during the regular season, which is only 10 days away. And until then, the Mavericks won't be what coach Rick Carlisle envisions for the finished product.

"The unknown is how we're going to play with them,'' Carlisle said of Howard and Marion. "With the people we have available now, it's very similar to last year. With those two guys in the fold, our formula is going to be different. That's one of the things that is going to make this a challenge for us. But I don't mind these challenges if you have good players."

The upshot is that the Mavericks have a strong opening schedule that includes road games with the Lakers, Spurs and Hornets in the first 15 days. They do not want to repeat the 2-7 start of last year.

That makes integrating Howard and Marion quickly all the more important.

Asked if it will have to be done in the early stages of the regular season, Carlisle said: "It might. ... But we'll make it work.''

The good news is the Mavericks are deeper and therefore better prepared to make contingency plans work than they were a year ago.

"I really like all the ingredients,'' Nowitzki said, ticking off all the new and old players that have looked good in training camp. "I'm actually impressed with the first three weeks. But that obviously doesn't mean anything for the regular season.

"It's going to be interesting because we haven't even scratched the surface.''

King in town: There's no guarantee LeBron James will play tonight when the Cleveland Cavaliers visit American Airlines Center.

James and several teammates have been suffering from flu-like symptoms, although swine flu has been ruled out, the team has said. James is expected to play only one game of a back-to-back set that started Friday night in San Antonio.

"We don't want to get sick,'' Jason Terry said. "But we're going to be guarding him close anyway.''

It's the first of two games against the Cavaliers. The teams meet Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Howard progressing: Howard went through his second practice with no complications, but the Mavericks are not going to release a time frame for his first preseason action.

"Josh is doing fine,'' Carlisle said. "I'll have an update when there's one to give you. We just don't want to turn this into an everyday Josh watch. But he's making progress.''

7:30 p.m. today (Ch. 21)

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 18, 2009


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