The Dallas Mavericks are now in the midst of a full-on funk as they are on a six-game losing streak after suffering a 111-86 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio began the game on a 14-2 run and never trailed at any point. While the game was much more competitive as opposed to the game a week ago, the Mavericks just couldn’t sustain enough energy and effort to withstand the Spurs.
In his fourth game back, Dirk Nowitzki had another rough outing as he had eight points while shooting 3-of-9 from the field. He simply hasn’t looked like the same Dirk everyone knows and loves as he has made 11-of-34 shots (32 percent) since his return. He is averaging 7.5 points a game. His situation, trying to get back into basketball shape, definitely makes the challenge that much more difficult for the Mavericks as they try to find their way.
Elton Brand recorded his third double-double of the season (399thcareer) with 14 points and a game-high-tying 10 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. He scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and grabbed 10-plus boards for the fourth time this year. Darren Collison recorded a team-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds and a team-high eight assists in 33 minutes. He’s averaging 18.8 points per game over his last four games and has led the team in scoring in three of Dallas’ last four contests.
Here is the quoteboard for the loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
The game: “We shot the ball well. They had a tough night shooting, and obviously that makes a big difference. We were fortunate, obviously Dirk is not ready. He’s not Dirk Nowitzki basically, one of the greatest players that’s ever played, so it’s going to take time for him. Everybody’s just trying to figure out their place and work around, and get back into a rotation. It’s very, very difficult when you have a guy like that out, and then he comes back. They were in the game all night. It was a six or eight point game, and it kept changing, and we finally made a run in the second half. We made some shots and they just never made shots. I think they were one for 16 from three or something like that. That makes it tough for you.”
The results versus the Mavericks: “Yeah, we had a very good game overall. First half we were not that sharp offensively, and we scored 57 anyways and we kept them under 50. And it was a good solid game. We just were not terrific, but very solid. They were not very inspired. We forced them to take some bad shots that let us run and it was a
On defending San Antonio’s big three: “We just didn’t get it done, and we haven’t gotten it done in a pretty significant stretch of games now. It starts with me and then it goes right down the line. There are no excuses. We have simply got to dig in harder and we know we’ve got to do a better job. As far as the big three… they’re great players and we didn’t do a good job on them. They made a lot of plays, a lot of shots. Some of them we contested, but a lot of the plays they made, they were just better than us. We’ve got to compete better – that’s where it’s at.”
On what the Mavericks have to do to turn things around: “The first thing we’ve got to do is collectively make a stand and just decide we’re going to bust through this thing. It’s got to start defensively and on the boards. From there, the offensive things generally take care of themselves as long as we’re not throwing the ball all over the place. We’re just very disappointed, but we can’t make excuses. We’ve got to stick together and we’ve got to fight – and we’ve got to fight harder than we did tonight.”
On playing well only in stretches: “It’s a 48-minute game, so we’ve got to be better early, we’ve got to be better late. I don’t want to get into a dialogue on the parts of the game that were ‘okay.’ It’s not what this organization has been about since Mark [Cuban] bought the team. This is a stretch that is unprecedented, really. It’s bad. We’ve got to fix it, and it starts with me. I’m taking the blame for it.
What needs to happen: “We need to find a way to put in our work and get better. We need to play harder and we gone on the road and lost four in a row and we should have won those games. Losing those games really hurt us and we really want to win.”
What is the vibe in the room: “I’m feeling a lot of frustration right now. We’re going down the wrong path and need to get back on track. That’s not just X’s and O’s, but we have to have a little more energy, a little more competitiveness, and a little more fight in us for us to win.”
What will turn it around: “We just have to find within in our locker room. We’re getting healthy and we got the talent and we just have to bring it out of each other. We got to have leadership, energy, and have our competitiveness.”
What’s going wrong to start games: “We can’t pinpoint it right now. You can look at a lot of different scenarios and situations, but at the end of the day this is very frustrating for all of us and this hurts. The good thing about tonight is we only had 11 turnovers. But the bad thing is we couldn’t get a win. When you only turn the ball over 11 times and you outrebound a team and you have more assists than a team, you usually win. But that wasn’t the case tonight.”
Losing six in a row: “This is painful. This really hurts, especially this string of games that we’re losing. You know we’re confident in every game that we can come out and win and we’re not getting the results that we want. That’s the most confusing thing to all of us.”
How to move forward: “We can’t get too low on the low. We can’t start to get negative from here on out. We’ve got to have some type of positives going forward from here. All we can do it look forward to the next game and try to win one and see if we can pull together a string of games there. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Continue to work, continue to get in practice and continue to keep our head high.”
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.