'Soft' Mavs add ammo for doubters

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
10:56
AM CT
The Mavericks are making it hard to believe in them.

There’s plenty of pent-up pessimism around these parts, which tends to happen when a perennial 50-plus-win team fails to get out of the first round of the playoffs in three of the previous four seasons. An 18-1 stretch raises hope, but it also reminds folks of the 13-game winning streak the one-and-done Mavs had after the All-Star break last season.

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Marc Stein hops on with Ben and Skin to discuss the Mavs' "soft-served" effort in New Orleans and what needs to happen to for them to be successful in the playoffs.

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Owner Mark Cuban usually ranks among the most optimistic MFFLs, but he pointed out Sunday evening that the Mavs had racked up wins against a soft stretch of schedule.

“Coming up this stretch starting tonight, we’ll get a better picture of who we are,” Cuban said.

Man, Cuban better hope he was wrong, because the picture we’re getting is awfully grim.

After making that comment, he watched the Mavs lose to the Memphis Grizzlies. They followed that up with an ugly win over the terrible Timberwolves, the West’s worst team, and a horrendous choke job against a struggling Hornets squad playing without Chris Paul.

The Mavs have talked a ton about playing better defense and putting teams away. It’s lip service at this point. They managed to blow a 17-point halftime lead against Memphis by giving up 41 points in the third quarter. Forty-frickin’-one points!!! They blew a double-figure lead against the Hornets, who lit it up for 33 points in the fourth quarter despite their star sporting the questionable plaid shirt/sportcoat combo on the bench. They gagged away a seven-point lead in the final 73 seconds, folding after David West basically decked Dirk Nowitzki.

The Mavs didn’t show any fire until informed by the media that their coach had called them “soft.” At least there weren't any tears shed in the locker room.

Well, how about proving Rick Carlisle wrong on the court instead of complaining about his comments? The Mavs have a great chance to do that with home games against the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers the next few nights.

Even if the Mavs recover with a pair of wins, there will still be plenty of doubters. This team doesn’t deserve to be trusted.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.9 4.5 1.7 34.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.9
AssistsR. Rondo 9.3
StealsR. Rondo 2.0
BlocksT. Chandler 1.4