This was likely the one time the Dallas Mavericks could have done without a free night in San Francisco. The team stayed overnight after their 111-87 loss to the Golden State Warriors. A flight home would have probably served them just fine.
This stretch of nine games in 12 nights was always viewed with dread by the Mavs and that's the way it played out:
* 2-7 record
* Three consecutive losses and six overall to lottery teams
* 38 turnovers in the last two games
* Allowed an average of 105.7 points in last three losses to Phoenix, Sacramento and Golden State
* Dallas has lost seven consecutive road games, it's longest skid since 1999. Six came during this stretch.
The Mavs were 21-12 on Feb. 20 after beating Boston. They're now 23-20 and in eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
"It was a great experience, wasn’t it?" Dirk Nowitzki said. "A lot of unexpected losses, obviously, and really what hurt us was the first couple of games out of the break. You can’t lose out of the gate at home against New Jersey. You can’t go to New Orleans when they’re five, six men down and lose there. We just weren’t sharp enough coming out of the break."
Jason Terry's comments after Friday's loss at Sacramento had everyone on the outside wondering about internal conflicts. After Saturday's game, he was much more optimistic and said that the players talked and put this draining stretch into perspective.
"We all talked. A lot of people in life are going through a lot tougher things than a three-game losing streak at this point in the season," Terry said. "We’ve just got to let reality sink in and we’ve all got the same goal in mind and that’s to win. We all want to win and right now in the stretch that we’ve had we’ve tried to do it as individuals and we know that’s not a winning formula."
Terry even offered a solution to get the Mavs back on the winning track fast.
"Winning is a cure-all and if we can get one under our belt we'll get that feeling back and start to feel good about ourselves," Terry said. "It doesn't matter who it is, it don't matter. If we've got to play the Lady Jets to get a win, we'll do that. I'll call them for a scrimmage on Monday."
The Lady Jets is Terry's daughter's AAU team. That likely won't get past the NBA offices, but Nowitzki suggested the remainder of the month looks good. The schedule is packed with stout competition, but at least Dallas will play five games before its next back-to-back with four of those games at home.
"We’re going to play some teams that are right there with us," Nowitzki said. "We’ve got San Antonio, we’ve got Houston, we’ve got Denver in the next two weeks and we’ve got the Lakers at home one more time. It’s going to be a fun challenge here in the next two weeks and always have a day [off] in between. We’ve just got to be better and make a run here."
Here's three more things to consider as the Mavs fly home:
1. What to make of Lamar Odom: Since his encouraging second half a week ago against the Utah Jazz, the forward has not put up good numbers. Mavs coaches and his teammates will have to judge his energy level and defensive acumen. That story might have been told in the minutes column. Despite Haywood and Wright being out, Carlisle played Odom less than 17 before subbing him in for a couple of minutes in late garbage time. Statistically, Odom has not helped the cause. He was 1-of-6 from the floor for three points against the Warriors. In Friday's loss at Sacramento, he was 2-of-7 for four points. He had a combined eight rebounds.
2. Defense falters: The Mavs have had two double-digit streaks of holding opponents under 100 points, including a franchise-record of 15 in a row. On consecutive nights, Dallas gave up 110 to Sacramento and then 111 to Golden State. In the three losses on the road trip, the Mavs allowed an average of 105.7 points and lost their top-five ranking in the league in scoring defense, dropping to ninth. They also fell to sixth in field-goal percentage defense.
3. Offense awful: Dallas has scored 100 points or more just once in the last 12 games. The NBA's 20th-ranked scoring offense (94.2 ppg) averaged 92.7 points in the three losses on the road trip against teams that all rank in the bottom 10 in the league in scoring defense: Phoenix (20th), Sacramento (30th) and Golden State (26th).