Schedule frustration starts to show

SAN ANTONIO -- Prior to the start of this hastily scheduled, 66-game regular season, ESPN broadcaster and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy called the league's rush to start the season on Christmas and salvage its big TV payday a "total money grab."

He then joked that the NBA should have just went ahead and scheduled day-night doubleheaders. After playing six games in eight nights, culminating with Thursday's ugly 93-71 loss at the San Antonio Spurs, some players were perhaps starting to question the wisdom of this condensed and rugged schedule on the heels of a two-week training camp.

Dirk Nowitzki was asked if the league would have been better served by playing fewer games and allowing teams more time to prepare for the season following the lockout.

"We know this league is about money, so the more games they get the more money they make," Nowitzki said. "So it's really not about the product that much to them, but it is what is. It is a lot of games, but I think every team has to deal with it now and we just have to get better."

Shawn Marion said to expect more sloppily-played games around the league. The NBA started training and free agency on Dec. 9, so most teams did not have their full rosters set for at least a few days into training camp, some longer.

"Yeah, definitely, you've seen it already," Marion said. There's going to be some games that don't go our fans' way. There is going to be nights where it is just not going to go in, but it is what it is."

While the Mavs were playing a sixth game in eight nights and fourth in five nights, the Spurs were playing a fourth game in six nights and third in four nights. Both teams were on a back-to-back. The Spurs started the game hot and finished 16-of-33 from beyond the arc. However, overall they shot just 39.5 percent, while Dallas managed just 35.1 percent.

It's only just begun. The Mavs are four games into a franchise-high 18 games in January.