- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS -- The Mavericks knew there’d be nights like Saturday when they committed to a backcourt that was more than a decade younger than their previous closing duo.
There are things that Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo do better than Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. Closing games definitely isn’t one of them, as was painfully evident when the Mavs blew an eight-point lead in the final five minutes to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Of course, it doesn’t help matters that Dirk Nowitzki isn’t available to knock down crunch-time shots and Shawn Marion isn’t available to do dirty work down the stretch. But the simple fact is the Mavs need Collison and Mayo to quickly learn on the job.
“We’ve got a lot to learn,” owner Mark Cuban said. “That’s the trade-off of having young guards. We could just as easily be 7-0, but we’ve got to learn to close out games better. We don’t have that calming influence of just get the ball to Dirk and get out of the way, and that matters.
“It’s going to take some time. We’ll get there. It’s part of the process.”
Added coach Rick Carlisle: “We have to make sure those guys are ready to be in those situations and be successful.”
Carlisle, who stressed that a lot of the accountability should fall on the coaches, said the Mavs need to study those situations and get ready for the next closing opportunity.
Cuban pinpointed one of the problems as Collison and Mayo trying to be heroes instead of just executing within the system.
“We’ve got too many guys playing home run ball right now, trying to stem the tide when it goes against us, and we’ve got to get out of that habit,” Cuban said. “But we went young. We knew they were 24, 25. We didn’t think they were 35. That’s just part of the trade-off.”