CHICAGO -- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle emphasized after Wednesday's 101-78 loss to the Chicago Bulls that the imminent signing of veteran Derek Fisher will help but not cure the team's dire situation at point guard.
"I want to make this clear: I don't see him as a cure-all to all the challenges we have as a team, but a guy with that kind of experience can help," Carlisle said.
The Mavs, losers of three straight, face many challenges as they trudge along without All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki, but none greater than the point guard position. Recent talks with Fisher came to a head Wednesday night when the team was without point guard Darren Collison, who sprained his right middle finger in Tuesday's loss to Philadelphia while making a bounce pass to Elton Brand late in the game.
Pending a physical, the 16-year veteran Fisher will join the Mavs on Thursday, which will give him a few practices to get acquainted with his new teammates before Saturday's home game against Detroit.
Collison arrived at the United Center expecting to play but couldn't shoot or dribble with his right hand in the hours leading up to the game. Even so, he said he thought about playing with one hand a night after the turnover-prone point guard came off the bench for the first time this season.
"It's a real tough two days for me," Collison said. "But we're all going to go through stuff. It's a long NBA season. I'll be out there soon."
Collison said he's day-to-day but is hopeful for Saturday's game. Either way, he's looking forward to working with Fisher.
"I think his leadership will help," Collison said. "He's a veteran guy who's been around the NBA for a long, long time. I think he's going to help me grow into the player I want to be and he's going to help this team grow."
Fisher will join a Mavs team that's been beleaguered by turnovers and close losses, not to mention players who have tried to overcompensate in certain areas. Carlisle said their intentions are good but the communication, among other things, needs to improve moving forward.
O.J. Mayo doesn't think confidence has been an issue.
"I just don't understand a little bit what we're doing out there sometimes," Mayo said. "One time a big focus is defense and now we're struggling to get points offensively. We've just got to get back in the lab and work it out, whatever it is."
The Mavs will have little time to do so, as they play nine of their next 13 games away from home.
"We've got to embrace that challenge," Carlisle said. "That's where we're at. Like I've said, I believe in this group of guys. I like them. They're all good guys. They all bring some good things to the table to our team. We've just got to keep going. We've got to keep going."