Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was unhappy with his team's effort in a 92-83 loss to a San Antonio squad that was missing two All-Stars on Wednesday night.
"Simple as that," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "If you don't play hard enough, you're going to get your ass kicked. ... That's essentially what happened."
One of the Mavs' top priorities this summer was to become a tougher team. They thought they did that by adding Shawn Marion among others, and Carlisle consistently challenged his team throughout training camp.
The results have been mixed early in the regular season. Carlisle has complained about his team's effort and intensity level on a few occasions.
The Mavs have trailed by double figures in five of their eight games, and have managed to win two of those games.
"Our biggest hurdle is when we have an opportunity to seize the moment, we don't be the aggressor," Jason Terry said. "We kind of wait for things to happen. Once we get over that hurdle, then we're going to be a championship team.
"But until we get that killer instinct and get that swagger like nobody can touch us -- which they can't when we play the right way -- we're going to struggle."
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. E-mail email@example.com.