Johnson moves Mavs from Miami hotel

Updated: June 17, 2006, 8:22 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

MIAMI -- Dallas Mavericks coach Avery Johnson has accused his team of falling into "a vacation mentality" ever since the NBA Finals moved from North Texas to South Florida.

"So I'm going to fix that," Johnson vowed.

How?

Daily Dime
The Heat still need to win Game 5 more than Avery Johnson's Mavs do.

It's actually even more of a priority for the Heat now that Jerry Stackhouse, Dallas' top reserve and toughest vet, can't play.

To read more of Marc Stein's analysis in the Friday night Daily Dime, click here.

Johnson declined to reveal any specifics, but ESPN.com has learned that Step 1 was carried out before Johnson's lunchtime news conference Friday when the team moved from its downtown Miami hotel to a more remote location in the Fort Lauderdale area some 45 minutes away from AmericanAirlines Arena.

"I think more than anything, we just need to be able to rebound the core of why we're here," said Donnie Nelson, the club's president of basketball operations. "Get back to some of those basics. It's changing gears for good reasons."

It's believed that Mavericks players and coaches will be sequestered there -- off limits to family and friends -- until Sunday night's Game 5, except for a return trip to the AAA for practice and a mandatory media session Saturday.

"We just don't have the same focus that we've had throughout the playoffs," Johnson said.

"Again, I'll take care of it."

The move appears to be mostly for solidarity reasons, with Dallas needing to regroup after slipping from the verge of a 3-0 series lead into a 2-2 tie with the surging Heat. The Mavs first blew a late 13-point lead in Game 3, then lost Thursday's Game 4 by a season-high 24 points before finding out Friday afternoon that sixth man Jerry Stackhouse would be suspended for Game 5 after a takedown of Shaquille O'Neal.

"This just gives us an opportunity to get back to a little bit more of a training-camp-type of regimen, refocus and completely cut out the distractions," Nelson said. "It's not like our guys were dancing in the streets until 3 o'clock in the morning. We're a very family oriented team."

Without addressing the hotel change specifically, Johnson indicated later Friday on his weekly radio show in Dallas that the large number of family members, well-wishers and reporters hovering around his team at the Finals was a greater impediment to the Mavericks regrouping than the famed temptations of South Beach.

"It's just a different environment, so you have more things to manage," Johnson told KESN 103.3 FM. "We haven't managed those things well. We're going to try to get in a position to get our focus back."

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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