Denver Nuggets 127,681, Dallas Mavericks $0.75 and Half of a Moldy Sandwich

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 10, 2010 under Recaps | 10 Comments to Read

Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images.

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“…All the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
-William Shakespeare

It honestly does not get much worse than this.

Worst loss in nearly a decade? Check. Embarrassing effort level on both ends of the court? Double check. Truly horrid execution? You betcha. Completely whiffing in a ‘statement game?’ Probably an understatement, but yes. The Dallas Mavericks failed in just about every conceivable way on Tuesday night, giving the players, coaching staff, and front office personnel plenty to think about going into the All-Star break.

You’ll find no more cogent and persuasive argument for the Mavs to make a trade than last night’s misery. The Nuggets just seemed to be operating on a completely different plane of existence, one that was simply beyond that of the pitiful, mortal Mavs. All Dallas could do was stare wide-eyed as Denver’s shooters nailed shot after shot, and marvel at every backdoor cut and spot-on defensive rotation. Nothing the Mavs did on the court could really be classified as actively playing the game of basketball, so don’t misunderstand my rhetoric; the Mavericks were spectators on the floor, watching the true professionals do what they do. They simply couldn’t be bothered with offering the slightest resistance or competition.

Dismissing the Mavs didn’t even require a spectacular game from either of Denver’s biggest stars, Chauncey Billups (16 points, 6-8 FG, six assists, three steals) and Carmelo Anthony (19 points, six assists, four rebounds). Instead, the Nuggets simply cashed in on the ordinary performances of their top players, and supplemented with some ridiculous production off the bench. Four of Denver’s reserves finished in double-figures, and it was actually the ridiculous second quarter runs of the Nuggets’ bench players that put away the game early. The Mavs expect, scheme, and tech to stop the players that are difficult to stop otherwise; Billups is so crafty and Anthony so talented that if you’re not preparing for them, you’re doomed to allow a monster scoring night from one or both. But Ty Lawson? Arron Afflalo? Johan Petro? These aren’t supposed to be the guys that give a team like the Mavs trouble…and yet here we are, looking at a decisive 18-33 quarter that says otherwise.

Without a healthy, fully-functional Erick Dampier, the Mavs have no hope of stopping Nene (21 points, 8-9 FG, eight rebounds). Eddie Najera got the start at center in Dampier’s absence (you know the drill – left knee effusion), but both he and Drew Gooden looked absolutely clueless in “guarding” (I use this term loosely) a player with such size, speed, and finishing ability. Nene was one of the unheralded difference-makers of last year’s playoff series between the Mavs and Nuggets, and his most recent domination of the Mavs was only more of the same.

J.R. Smith (12 points, three rebounds, three assists) and Chris Andersen (14 points, ten rebounds) were predictably troublesome, if only because the Mavs didn’t match their energy and activity. Based on everything else you’ve read and seen regarding this game, that shouldn’t be at all surprising.

Look, the Mavs were awful. Terrible, really. They slowed to a crawl when the should have (and could have) been sprinting, and now they’ll have to live with the consequences. So the best thing I can tell you to do is just laugh this off. Chuckle a bit at the thought of Ty Lawson running circles around the Mavs’ defenders. Let out a laugh because you know that Malik Allen, MALIK ALLEN, scored six points against Dallas. Just giggle with delight because you know that Denver shot 16-18 at the rim, and that’s probably not even the Mavs’ most embarrassing defensive feat of the night. But most importantly, laugh this off because there’s really nothing else you can do. This loss was so bad that it’s probably beyond anger or frustration, and qualifies as pure comedy. I mean, this is all some sort of elaborate joke…right?

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  • Jeff

    Is a trade really going to fix this team? Can one (or two)individuals fix a group of guys that seem to have entirely lost interest in the game of basketball? Is it time to rethink the Mavs as a whole?

  • finzent

    Wow, I like it when you’re pissed off.

    I’m pissed off too, of course. Had to stop watching before halftime. What I wonder is: How on earth could it come to this? Only six weeks ago, the Mavs were playing really good basketball, and pretty consistently. They were probably overperforming a bit, but I simply refuse to believe that what we’re seeing now is the true, ugly face of the Mavericks.

    I just don’t get it. At all. Something is really really wrong.

  • Mavs Fan

    Hey Hey Hey, I have it on authority that Nuggets had 10 players playing against Mavs 5. Or was it their 5 against our 0? Ouch …

  • Andrew

    Is there a good answer as to why we haven’t bothered to just have Dampier’s knee drained?

  • Kevin

    If something doesn’t change this team is gonna miss the playoffs. We either need a guard that can stop anyone or a big that can block shots. We can’t trot out a Barea/Kidd/Marion/Dirk/Gooden and not expect to just get annihilated defensively. Should’ve traded JET for captain jack when we had the chance.

  • Ryan

    A healthy Eric Dampier can’t stop Nene either.

  • Matt McNugget

    As a Nugget fan, I don’t think you should be so hard on the Mavs. The swing from west cost to Denver on a back to back is a killer. The team gets in sometime just before dawn and has to play that night. A professor I was listening to at a sleep clinic the other day told me that the body doesn’t store sleep. So even if the team has been sleeping well it is going to be a killer trip. When you don’t get the right amount of sleep at the right time you can’t function correctly. The real issue is the schedule. The Mavs will bounce back and give us a run for our money in the playoffs

  • Brayden

    I think worst loss in the decade has to be the one where we were up by almost 30 points on the Lakers, 32 at one point in the third quarter, and we managed to lose the game. I forget what year, but it was back in the Don Nelson, Steve Nash, Michael Finley days.

    Then again, if by worst you are referring to just lack of effort, pride, and heart, this may be it.

  • Cynthia

    Call me psychic, but I knew this game was a loss before it even started. I tried to actually watch it, but couldn’t stand the misery and tuned out early in the 2nd quarter. If the MAVS don’t seem interested (and they sure the hell do NOT seem the least bit) then why should I be? The last few games they seem to be just going through the motions not giving a tinkers damn how they perform on the court. The thing is, I LOVE THIS TEAM. If I’m lucky I actually get to attend a few games a year. I’m going to the game against Pheonix on the 17th. The thing is…for the first time EVER I’m not even looking forward to it….because if they continue to half-ass it, it won’t really matter anyway.

  • Kevin

    Mr. McNugget, it’s about more than this game, the team has been awful for a solid month now.