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Opening Tip: Clutch calls for steady Dirk/Monta diet

DALLAS -- Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple. Maybe that’s the case for the Mavericks in crunch time.

“We’re going to keep working on our end-of-game stuff,” coach Rick Carlisle said, “but our best players are going to be touching it a lot.”

That means Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, a duo that combined to score the Mavs’ final 19 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats, final 14 points in a win over the Portland Trail Blazers and final 11 points in a loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Would the Mavs like to be more balanced late in tight games? Not really. They’re just fine with a steady diet of Dirk/Monta until the opponent forces them to do something else.

“If we weren’t, you’d be like, ‘Well, shouldn’t we go to it more? That pick-and-roll is unstoppable,’” owner Mark Cuban said. “So that’s what we do. We go to it until it’s stopped.”

The Mavs are confident they can make it hard on opponents to pick other poisons by putting a couple of perimeter threats on the floor with their two best players. For example, the New Orleans Pelicans forced the ball out of the Mavs stars’ hands, and Jose Calderon made them pay by drilling a couple of clutch 3-pointers.

“We’ll be ready if they start helping on them,” Calderon said. “But if they don’t help and they can score, I’m good for that. So hopefully they can keep on scoring, but I think having Vince [Carter] on one side and me on one side, [opponents] have to make decisions. We have to be ready to make that shot if the pass is coming, but they’re making shots.

“They’re doing really good lately, so let’s keep it that way.”