Mavs' focus: Rebounding, fewer turnovers

DALLAS -- Just because the Dallas Mavericks are without 7-footers Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman right now doesn't mean they can't rebound the ball or play physical when needed.

"We have to bring our own brand of physicality to the game," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’ve got to use our quickness. We’ve got to be persistent. We have to do things collectively."

That includes rebounding, which Carlisle said was something his team is focused on leading into tonight's preseason tilt with the Atlanta Hawks.

"If we get the ball off the boards, we can run. We’re going to be fast out there," Carlisle said. "Everything that’s going on right now that are challenges for us can be corrected, but our concentration and focus and alertness have to be there."

Dallas is without Nowitzki, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will be out anywhere from three to six weeks. Kaman has a strained calf, and it's unclear when he'll return. He missed Saturday's game and won't play tonight.

Though the Mavs lose plenty of presence in the paint and two of the top rebounders on the team, Carlisle believes his squad can still get the job done on the boards. He also stressed eliminating turnovers, something that was costly on Saturday. Dallas had 20 turnovers against the Hawks, but 12 of those came in the first half and Atlanta scored 20 points off of them.

"We’ve got to be better with the ball," Carlisle said. "We’ve got to eliminate turnovers. Those things are correctable. We looked at all of them on film today. It wasn’t anything Atlanta was doing, it was just we made some poor decisions and didn’t make good reads. Those are all things that are correctable, so we’ve got to correct them."