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Struggling Mavs 'consider this a must-win'

NEW ORLEANS -- A dude from a Big Easy TV station wondered how the Mavericks would get motivated to play against a horrible, hurting Hornets squad.

As you might imagine, Rick Carlisle couldn’t care less that the Hornets have an 8-27 record and won’t have guard Eric Gordon, forward Carl Landry, center Emeka Okafor and maybe swingman Trevor Ariza available due to injuries and an illness.

“We’ve been getting our ass kicked lately,” Carlisle said. “We should be ready to play.”

Added Dirk Nowitzki: “We consider this a must-win. We’re struggling … so it’s a big game and we’re going to war with whoever’s here.”

As bad as the Hornets are, nothing seems to come easy in the Big Easy for the Mavs. They had lost eight in a row to the Hornets in New Orleans Arena -- including some games in which voodoo appeared to be a factor -- before sweating out an 83-81 win Jan. 21.