Johnson runs Mavs hard to keep away rust

Updated: May 4, 2006, 6:57 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- With a long wait between playoff games, Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson tried keeping his team sharp by putting them through a hard practice and a 12-minute scrimmage Thursday.

"We haven't played a game since Monday, so we needed to get the lungs blown out," Johnson said. "It was good. We needed to get some work in."

The Mavericks have been off since completing a four-game sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies. Johnson gave them a break Tuesday, then had them back on the court Wednesday.

After Thursday's workout, he said, "Oh, boy, we've had two really good days." He was so pleased that he's only having a film session Friday.

"We're trying to stay sharp, but at the same time rest," sixth man Jerry Stackhouse said. "We're trying to find that happy medium."

Dallas will face either San Antonio or Sacramento in the second round. The Spurs can knock out the Kings in Game 6 on Friday night in Sacramento.

If a seventh game is needed, it would be Sunday in San Antonio, pushing the start of the second round to at least Tuesday. Should that happen, Johnson said he'll make the Mavs get in another good sweat Saturday or Sunday.

"They're ready to play," Johnson said. "We've been trying to do things to keep them upbeat. But at some point, you just get tired of resting."

The Mavericks have no injury concerns. In fact, they're getting injured players back.

Keith Van Horn went through some drills for the first time since breaking his right hand March 31. He's expected to rejoin practice early next week, with a chance to play late in the series.

"He was at least able to grab a basketball, which was a good sign," Johnson said. "It's coming along and it's coming at the right time."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press