Mavs struggle on the defensive end

January, 9, 2010
1/09/10
10:58
PM CT
DALLAS -- A quick glance at the box score showed the Mavericks outrebounded Utah -- one of the top rebounding teams in the league -- and actually had one more second-chance point.

"If you had told me we were going to do that, I would have said it would have been a good sign," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We struggled shooting the ball and we struggled all night defensively."

The Mavericks shot 41.3 percent for the game, including just 30 percent in the first quarter. That means they were trying to dig out of a hole early in the second game of a back-to-back. Carlilse didn't want to use fatigue as an excuse, noting that Utah was also playing its second game in as many nights.

But more than the 41.3 percent shooting the Mavs had from the field on Saturday, Carlisle was disappointed that Dallas allowed Utah to shoot 53.2 percent.

"That is one of the highest numbers all year we've given up," Carlisle said. "They were near or above 50 most of the night, so we just didn't get the job done defensively. It's as simple as that. We lost the first three quarters pretty decisively."

Dallas had 13 turnovers, eight of them in the third quarter. Utah scored 19 points for the game off Maverick turnovers.

A few other notes:

* Dallas has praise for Deron Williams, a local product out of The Colony. He returned from a wrist injury and looked just fine, scoring 20 points. He added nine assists.

"He was on fire, wasn't he?" said Shawn Marion, who had 10 point and nine rebounds. "He was hitting everything."

* Marion said he was frustrated that Dallas couldn't get any key stops when they needed them to be able to go on a run.

* Dirk Nowitzki had his 21st game of 25 or more points this season, scoring 29 on Saturday on 9-for-22 shooting. It was a quiet 29 as the Jazz did a nice job against him.

* Erick Dampier had 13 rebounds, the seventh time he's had at least that many in one game.

* Utah had just five turnovers, matching the NBA season-low set by Dallas against San Antonio in November.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2