Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/20/13
The Dallas Mavericks are off to a good start, but it could be better. With a 97-94 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 18, the Mavericks moved to 7-4 on the season and remained undefeated at 5-0 at home. If you do the math, that means the Mavs are just 2-4 on the road, something coach Rick Carlisle and the team want to improve on. The Mavs have hit the century mark in eight games, averaging 105.7 points which ranks them 5th in the league. Dallas is scoring nearly 111 at home, and while they are scoring an impressive 101.5 in six road games, they are giving up nearly 105 per game, giving up at least 100 in five of the six. Dallas got off to a good start with the win over the Sixers, and play six of its next eight at American Airlines Center. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis both recorded their first double-doubles of the season. Ellis scored a team-high 24 points and had 10 assists, while Nowitzki added 20 and 10 rebounds. Shawn Marion also scored 20, while Philly only had one player, Evan Turner, with 20 or more. Ellis scored 19 in the second half, 13 in the third quarter. Nowitzki, who recently passed Jerry West for 16th in all-time scoring, needs 17 to pass Reggie Miller for 15th. He’ll look to do so as the Mavs host the Rockets on ESPN on Nov. 20. While it’s nice to see the Mavericks scoring at will, I can’t see them keeping it up. They have to do a much better job on the defensive side to win games and keep pace with the rest of the West. That’s where Samuel Dalembert comes in. He was brought in for his ability to play defense and defend the paint. Jose Calderon and Ellis will have to play much better defense, something they aren’t known for, and Ellis will have to cut down his 4.1 turnovers a game. Rookie Shane Larkin could play a key factor. Larkin made his Mavs debut against the Sixers and had three steals in limited action, as he still recovers from surgery.    
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