DALLAS -- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his worst fears were realized when his team finished off the stretch of nine games in 12 nights Saturday night with seven losses.
"Yes, of course, absolutely," Cuban said prior to Tuesday's game against Washington. "It's not a balanced schedule this year for teams, and it hasn't worked in our favor. But that's the hand you're dealt. We've had to conserve minutes and we had to sit Jason Kidd in one of them."
Kidd sat out Saturday night's loss at Golden State, the final game of the back-to-back-to-back.
The Mavs are the only Western Conference team this season to be dealt a nine-in-12, but they were also given the minimum one back-to-back-to-back. Some teams will play up to three of the triples. Dallas, heading into its 44th game of the season, has played more games than any other West team.
"Hopefully that will work in our favor," Cuban said of the remaining six weeks in the regular season. "Hopefully we'll run into some tired teams like they ran into us."
As a result of having fewer back-to-backs moving forward, particularly throughout the rest of March, Cuban said he expects coach Rick Carlisle to loosen his minutes restrictions on starters, especially with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki and Kidd. Nowitzki's minutes have been on the rise anyway (and some of that was due to Lamar Odom's extended personal leave), but Carlisle has preferred to keep Kidd's minutes at no more than 30 a game, and he has carefully adjusted his rotation to make that work.
"Hopefully going forward we will be able to play our starting lineup more playoff-like and play our second unit more playoff-like," Cuban said. "It will help because we'll get more time together, which will help with late-game situations and late-game confidence and execution."
Cuban has beat the drum during this shortened schedule of just make the playoffs. At 23-20, he said it's time for the Mavs to win as many games as possible to make sure that doesn't become an issue a month from now.
"It's very important," he said. "It's not like we have a cushion. We've got to win games."
More Cuban notes from Tuesday:
* With the trade deadline approaching 2 p.m. CT on Thursday, Cuban reiterated that it's been rather quiet around the AAC offices. With the organizational strategy focused on creating cap space to chase free agents this summer, Cuban said he isn't actively pursuing a major deal to shake things up.
"We don't have the practice time to integrate somebody. We don't have the time to integrate the guys we have," Cuban said. "Unless somebody throws us a gimme why would I?"
* Rumors continue to swirl about Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and his future. Howard lists the Mavs as one of his top destinations and, obviously, the dream of Mavs fans is to see Howard and The Colony native Deron Williams come together in Big D. Cuban again said that the Mavs are not fixated on one or two potential blockbuster free agents.
"We don't know yet what we're going to do this summer," Cuban said.
He can't, at least not yet. The first step is waiting to see if Orlando gives up hope of retaining Howard and pulls the trigger on a deal by Thursday's deadline. A deal to New Jersey would likely all but kill Dallas' chances at either Howard or Williams.