Slow starts dogging, haunting Mavs
The Mavs explained away a 32-14 deficit at Golden State Warriors on Wednesday as coming the night after a physical affair in the loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. But, Friday's 26-12 deficit at home to the San Antonio Spurs was more difficult to explain away.
"It shouldn't have been," Dirk Nowitzki said of the San Antonio slow start. "We had a day off [Thursday] and we weren’t as sharp in the beginning, but then we scramble and made some plays and we were back in it at halftime."
Yes, the Mavs trailed the Spurs by only five at halftime, but unlike their 112-106 win against the Warriors, who are in Dallas tonight for an early 6:30 p.m. tip, the Mavs couldn't rely on the Spurs to make mistakes and poor decisions in aiding a comeback win. The NBA's best team pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 97-91 win.
"I've been talking to you guys [media] a lot about the importance of good starts and how they carry over and we needed a better start [against the Spurs]," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We were having trouble finishing plays. We scrambled all night long. There were three or four plays in the first four or five minutes where we had a chance to secure a rebound or finish off a play and they just came in and knock it away or we have one hand on it and then somehow we would lose it out of bounds or something like that.
"Those are the types of plays that come back to haunt you because they are opportunities that you miss and to go down and score and set up the defense. That was frustrating."
The Mavs enter tonight's game having lost five of their last eight games and are now a full game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the No. 2 seed. The Oklahoma City Thunder are now on the Mavs' heels for the No. 3 seed.
Dallas has two soft opponents and time off ahead with the Warriors tonight and then the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday at home. Then it's off on a six-game road trip that very well could define this team heading into the postseason.
Constantly playing catchup is certainly not how they want to enter the most important season of all.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.