Darren Collison, Mavs have been working on defense

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DALLAS — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was asked what he felt he learned about his team late in Wednesday’s game, when they let a 12-point lead get down to one before hanging on for a 114-111 win over the New York Knicks.

“That our pick-and-roll defense was horrible,” Carlisle said, matter-of-factly. “That was the first thing. We’ve got to be better in that area. I like the way we hung in. We did some good things to get a lead, but we really just outscored them during that stretch. We just weren’t able to get much traction defensively.”

Carlisle said because of that, his team focused on defense in Friday’s practice after taking Thanksgiving Day off. In a little over five minutes down the stretch on Wednesday, Dallas was outscored 21-10. Part of the issue is the club hasn’t rebounded as well this season and Carlisle has mentioned cutting down on turnovers. Carlisle knows it needs to be better Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“The Lakers are going to be a potent offensive team,” Carlisle said. “And they’re going to be big on the boards. Those are the areas we need to focus on. And then offensively, we’ve got to duplicate a lot of the good things we did against the Knicks.”

That includes Darren Collison, who had 19 points and seven assists, but still has work to do, if you ask his coach.

“Well, he’s scoring, but defensively he’s getting hurt,” Carlisle said. “I’m watching film with him every day. We know the areas where he has to get better. For a smaller guy, he’s just got to make more of a stand. We’ve got to help him out in a lot of those situations. He’s making strides overall with what we want him to do offensively. But defensively is where he can make the greatest gains.”The Mavs are going to need to step up that defense tonight when the Lakers come to town on another note.Vince Carter is turning back the clock playing like Vince Carter of ole coming off the bench giving Dallas a scoring punch they need.

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