To say the Dallas Mavericks need to rebound tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers is probably an understatement. However, I’m not necessarily talking about bouncing back from their loss last night against the San Antonio Spurs.
Sure, the Spurs did snap the Mavericks winning streak at four. The Mavericks even had a chance to win the game, but Vince Carter’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer came up short. The Mavericks played well most of the night and had a chance to win the game. You can’t ask for much more than that.
The stat that jumped out, however, was the fact that Spurs had 14 more rebounds than the Mavericks in the game, and 17 more in the first half.
After the game, Rick Carlisle commented on his team’s poor rebounding, saying “that was the difference in the game.”
The Mavericks rank 28th in the NBA in rebounding differential at -3.5 per game, and their leading rebounder, Elton Brand, is tied for 47th in the league in rebounds. Brand, a power forward, is only averaging 6.4 rebounds per game. Dallas is only averaging 9.3 offensive rebounds per game while allowing opponents 11.7 offensive rebounds.
This is an area of the game Dallas has to clean up. It’s hard to win in the NBA if you are constantly losing the rebound battle. Giving the opposition almost 12 extra chances to score every night isn’t the way to make the playoffs. The battle doesn’t get any easier tonight. Cleveland comes into the American Airlines Center on Friday with a 22–42 record, but they are tied for fifth in offensive rebounding with 12.5 per game.
Dallas needs to not only rebound tonight in the win column, but they need to rebound better than Cleveland. This means the Mavericks need to be more physical starting with their leader, Dirk Nowitzki.
“We usually have to fight really hard and have five guys in their battling. We’re not the most physical. We’ve got to fight,” Nowitzki said after the loss in San Antonio.
The Mavericks know this and in order to fix it, they need to head the advice of their leader. It’s time to put words into actions and fight. Hopefully, the Mavericks will rebound nicely against the Cavaliers and put a “W” in the standings.