The Dallas Mavericks continue to struggle when it comes to overtime. The Mavericks suffered a 99-96 overtime loss to the New Orleans Hornets. New Orleans used a 30-13 run from the 5:14 mark of the third quarter through the 7:12 mark of the fourth period to turn an 11-point deficit, 60-49, into a six-point advantage, 79-73. With the overtime loss, Dallas tied an NBA record with their 10th consecutive overtime loss, joining Atlanta, Golden State and Minnesota in that dubious club. Dallas dropped to 0-7 in overtime games this season. The franchise record for the most overtime games in a season is eight (which occurred in three different seasons). Dallas went 4-4 in overtime games in 1995-96, 4-4 in overtime games in 1997-98 and 5-3 in overtime games in 2009-10.
The Mavericks are 12-3 this season when they lead going into the fourth quarter. They are now 8-1 at home when leading going into the fourth. All three of the Mavericks’ losses in such games have come in overtime (at Charlotte Nov. 10, 2012; at Oklahoma City Dec. 27, 2012; versus New Orleans Jan. 6, 2013). The Mavericks are also 12-5 this season when they build at least a 10-point lead. All five of the Mavericks’ losses in such games have been decided in overtime (led by 15 at Charlotte on Nov. 10, 2012 but lost 101-97; led by 13 at Minnesota on Dec. 15, 2012 but lost 114-106; led by 11 at Oklahoma City on Dec. 27, 2012 but lost 111-105; led by 10 at Miami on Jan, 2, 2013 but lost 119-109; led by 11 versus New Orleans on Jan. 6, 2013 but lost 99-96).
Dirk Nowitzki made his first start of the season (1,031st career) against the Hornets on Saturday. The Mavericks used their 15th different starting lineup in their 34thgame of the season. Nowitzki played in his seventh game of the year and tallied a season-best 20 points to go along with a season-high-tying six boards in a season-high 34 minutes. His previous high scoring game this season was 19 points, which he recorded in Dallas’ previous game at Miami. He went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc against New Orleans and is now tied with Mookie Blaylock for 30th place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goals made list with 1,283 career treys. Nowitzki is averaging 16.7 points per game on 50 percent shooting over his last three games. He is averaging 26.7 minutes per game over his last three contests.
Here is the quoteboard for the overtime loss to the New Orleans Hornets
What went wrong in overtime: “We had some great looks that didn’t go down and they made a couple plays that we didn’t. Very disappointing; no way to say anything else or to express it any other way. As I always say, things like this come in waves. There will be more of these and we’ve got to do a better job. We had some great looks in overtime, which was great, but we just couldn’t get them down. They made a couple more plays. The shot Gordon made was a tough shot and it was a tough call to have it be a three-point play like that.”
On the play of Greivis Vasquez in the fourth quarter and overtime: “We just didn’t guard him well enough. …We’ve got to be better at knowing hot players. We’re struggling with little things and they’re killing us.”
Does it feel like the team has hit rock bottom: “It feels like it. Yeah, it feels like it. I still believe in the team and I like the guys. This is just a tough time and it’s important that everybody sticks together and we’ve got to fight through it.”
Thoughts on Dirk in his first start of the year:“I thought he did well. These overtimes are running out older guys’ minutes way up – that’s what concerns me. Vince [Carter] should be at 30 and Dirk should be at 30. That’s where those guys should be but they’re not, so this is where we are. But he’s doing well. Like I said, it’s a tough period, we’ve got to hang in.”
On how tough was the loss to the Hornets: “I mean you can’t sell them short. They’ve been in a lot of games. There record isn’t good but this is an NBA team and you have to respect them. They’ve been in a lot of games down to the wire. They play hard and compete on both ends of the floor and they came up with a big play at the end and got a good win.”
On what is going on in overtime: “I really don’t know. We can’t guard nobody. We’ve got to step up and contain guys and make them do something that they’re not comfortable doing. And if we don’t do that we’re going to have problems.”
On if this feels like rock bottom: “It feels like [expletive]. This [expletive] sucks. There ain’t no way to explain it other than that. Every loss hurts. It’s like coach said, we always do something to [another expletive] it up.”
On what’s going wrong: “We’re sabotaging ourselves.”
What’s going on at the end of games: “It just seems like we get closer and closer and it’s just that one mistake that we make at the end that seems to haunt us at the end. We’re still a work in progress, and we’re still going to push at it. We’re still going to keep fighting.”
Summing things up: “It really shouldn’t have come down to a close game there. …Defensively there in the fourth, we weren’t good at all.”
How he feels after his first start: “I’m obviously not quite there yet. I’m still a work in progress.”
The game against New Orleans: “This is a game we had to have. It’s frustrating, disappointing and all that stuff. We’ve got to keep plugging and fighting.”
The process: “I think it’s going to take us some time. Unfortunately we don’t really have it since we’re so far behind the eight spot.”
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.