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Posted on Thu, Apr. 06, 2006

Diop struggling a bit lately

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

Mavericks center DeSagana Diop knew exactly why coach Avery Johnson yanked him out early in the third quarter of Tuesday's 127-101 trouncing of Sacramento.

"I messed up on defense," Diop admitted.

He was late to help out on a couple of defensive rotations, prompting Johnson to send in backup Erick Dampier.

If Diop didn't get the message, his coach reiterated it after the game.

"He's going to have to wake up and get himself together because we can't have those defensive lapses as we move on," said Johnson, adding that the starting center's consistency has waned recently.

Diop has played only 29 minutes in the past two games, totaling only four points, six rebounds and one blocked shot.

Though he has played more minutes (1,367) this season than in any other of his five-year career, Diop isn't citing fatigue for his drop-off.

"I feel great," he said. "It's not physical, just mental."

Powell impresses

The performance turned in by Josh Powell against Sacramento had some questioning the logic of auditioning veteran backups for power forward Dirk Nowitzki.

But Avery Johnson knows it's not practical to expect 12 points and five rebounds out of a rookie every game, especially in the playoffs.

"We're looking for consistency," Johnson said.

Powell played with confidence and aggressiveness against the Kings, showing why the Mavs believe he has a bright future.

And Powell didn't seem surprised by his production.

"Who doesn't want to play? I'm a competitor," he said. "I go hard in practice and when I'm not in practice. I'm in here even when a lot of guys aren't."

Kemp excited

The agent for Shawn Kemp said his client hopes to sign with the Mavs. The former All-Star power forward, who retired three years ago, was scheduled to work out Wednesday for Avery Johnson in Houston.

"Shawn is excited about the chance," agent Tony Dutt said.

The Mavs are considering veteran options to replace the injured Keith Van Horn as Dirk Nowitzki's backup. George Lynch worked out for the team earlier this week.

Nowitzki's coach charged

Dirk Nowitzki's personal coach and mentor Holger Geschwindner has been charged with tax evasion in Germany, according to published reports.

Geschwindner, 60, spent five weeks in custody last summer while officials investigated questions arising from his financial relationship with Nowitzki.

German officials have said they believe Geschwindner evaded taxes on income earned through Nowitzki.

Not back yet

Blowout victories against Denver and Sacramento helped relieve some of the worry caused by last week's season-high three-game losing streak, but Jason Terry isn't convinced the Mavs are out of the woods.

He could be convinced after Friday's trip down Interstate 35.

"We have a game coming up against San Antonio where we really have to focus in on the execution part of our game," Terry said. "If we can come out of there with a win, then we'll be back on track."



Down the stretch

The Mavs trail the Spurs by 2 games in the Southwest Division. The division winner almost certainly will be the West's No. 1 seed. As of now, the Spurs are the top seed (the other division leaders are Nos. 2 and 3), and the Mavs are No. 4. The teams' remaining games:

I have noticed this lately. Plus some extra news and notes on the Mavs.

1,558 Posts
I have noticed some of Diop's mental mistakes on defense. I'm not convinced it's physical fatigue so much, but I do think some mental fatigue is involved. He's playing far more minutes he ever has and has a more important role than he ever has on a team that's far and away better than any team he has ever been on.

What I'd really like him to work hard on is his rebounding, also.

Damp is a better defender, rebounder, and passer (yes, I said passer) than people give him credit for.
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