Mavericks look to rebound vs. Clippers

DALLAS — Two days after losing at home to the Brooklyn Nets, the Dallas Mavericks are still seething about their inability to collect a defensive rebound during a critical point of Wednesday’s game.

Twice in the final 10 seconds with the Mavs down three points, the Nets grabbed an offensive rebound after they missed the second of two free throws. Those crucial rebounds by Brooklyn helped the Nets get out of American Airlines Center with a 109-104 victory over the Mavs, who promptly went through some extra boxing-out drills during Friday’s practice session.

“We did our drills and we finish them all off with block-outs and rebounds,” coach Rick Carlisle said following Friday’s practice. “If we don’t do it, there’s a consequence.

“If we do it well, there’s some kind of a reward.”

What made Wednesday’s crunch-time rebounding failures so odd is that Carlisle had been praising his team’s efforts in that department.

“Defensive rebounding has been one of our positive areas,” he said. “It’s been an area of growth, particularly in recent weeks. The two plays that were the free throw rebounds, that was just poor execution.”

The Mavs (5-16) are hoping for better execution in all departments on Saturday when they play host to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Meanwhile, the Clippers enter Saturday’s game following Thursday’s 126-107 home loss to the Utah Jazz. The game was tied at 61-all, but the Jazz took off from there and won going away.

“Yeah, we hung in there,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “The one thing we don’t have is comeback power. We’ve got to keep it in striking distance.

“What I told our guys after games is, ‘We’re going to play ourselves into every game and it’s going to be down to taking care of the ball, turning over the ball and defending the three.’ If we can do those things, we’ll win a couple of games here.”

The Clippers (8-12) are without four starters — Blake Griffin (MCL sprain), Patrick Beverley (knee surgery), Danilo Gallinari (sprained ankle) and Milos Teodosic (plantar fascia). Montrezl Harrell started in place of Griffin against the Jazz and finished with 13 points in 21 minutes while making all five of his field goals.

However, Rivers still hasn’t determined if Sam Dekker or Harrell will start against the Mavs.

“I loved what Montrezl did for us and his energy,” Rivers said. “We haven’t decided yet, but we’ll see.

“But I liked him and what he did. I liked what Sam did. I liked what all our guys did overall. We just got to make sure we have enough offense on the floor.”

In the meantime, the Mavs believe they may have found a diamond in center Maxi Kleber. The rookie from Germany had career highs of 16 points and seven rebounds in the loss to the Nets.

“He’s got a good outside shot and he’s quicker than most of the fives in this league,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “He’s given us a great lift.

“You put him on a good defender, he’s quick enough, he can switch it all. He’s a very smart player for us. I’m happy that he’s found his role and he’s playing well.”