Just when it appeared that it couldn’t get worse for the Mavericks, they found another way to lose the game. The turnover bug found its way to Dirk Nowitzki as he had two key turnovers in the final three minutes of the game. The Milwaukee Bucks were able to convert on both of the turnovers and secured a 95-90 victory over Dallas. The Mavericks had a total of 20 turnovers, leading to 19 points for the Bucks.
The Mavericks spoiled a rare 20/20 game for Dirk. He recorded his sixth career 20-point, 20-rebound game with 21 points to go along with a season-high 20 rebounds, three assists and two steals in 35 minutes against Milwaukee on Tuesday. It was his first 20/20 game since Apr. 3, 2003 vs. the L.A. Lakers (25 points and 22 rebounds). It was his seventh career game with 20-plus rebounds and his first since Dec. 27, 2007 (20 rebounds). Oddly enough, the Mavericks are now 3-3 in games where Dirk has scored at least 20 points and grabbed at least 20 rebounds in the same game.
Nowitzki, who had a season-high 30 points and a then season-high 13 rebounds against the Lakers in their previous game, recorded his second consecutive double-double (second of the season, 371stcareer). Nowitzki is averaging 25.3 points and 13.3 rebounds over his last three games. He is shooting 55.8 percent (29-of-52) from the field and 70 percent (7-of-10) from 3-point range in that span. Nowitzki is averaging 21.5 points and 10.7 rebounds over his last six games. He is shooting 53.4 percent (47-of-88) from the field and 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from deep in that span.
Monta Ellis spoiled Dirk’s night as he ending up having a game-high 22 points. He scored 11 of his 22 points in the final quarter. He also added a game-high nine assists and a season-high-tying six steals in 44 minutes. It was his fourth game with six thefts this season.
Some notes before the quotes:
- Nowitzki pulled down 11 first-half rebounds against the Bucks on Tuesday. It was tied for the second-most rebounds he’s recorded in the first half of a game in his career (he had 11 in the first half on two other occasions, and recorded 12 in the first half twice). The most rebounds Nowitzki recorded in any half in his career was 13 in the second half (twice).
- Elton Brand recorded his seventh double-double of the season (403rd career) with 12 points (6-8 FGs) and a season-high 14 rebounds (7 OR) in 25 minutes off the bench. His previous high rebounding game was 13 on two occasions. Brand is averaging 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds over his last four games. He is shooting 57.1 percent (24-of-42) from the field in that span.
- Dallas went 1-of-17 from 3-point range.
Here is the quoteboard for the Mavericks’ loss to the Lakers.
On losing the past two games despite Dirk Nowitzki’s great play: “It’s disappointing. Dirk played great; 21 [points] and 20 [rebounds]. Some of the shots he hit were extremely difficult. There’s always going to come a point in the game where other guys around him are going to have to step up, they’re going to have to make simple plays and they’re going to have to knock down shots. In this league, you can take away one guy and you can make that hard on him and then there’s going to be other openings. We were unable to do that. We had opportunities and it’s a make or miss league sometimes. Tonight, it was too many misses and too many miscues. You can’t have 20 turnovers against this team for 19 points and expect not to be leaving something to chance. It’s as simple as that.”
On what got Monta Ellis going in the fourth quarter: “Turnovers was one thing. Turnovers and run outs. He got to the free throw line once or twice. When a guy like that gets on a roll, he’s got a lot of ability and he has a history of being able to knock down shots. We didn’t respond well when they made runs. We built two or three eight-point leads and then proceeded to immediately let those leads go away. The inability to sustain has been our nemesis all year. Right now, we’ve got to do it.”
On the team’s inability to sustain: “Basically, our collective will has got to be stronger.”
On the play of Elton Brand: “He’s had a lot of good games. You guys are looking at the stats and he’s got a double-double, but he’s had a lot of equally good games. He’s a warrior. It’s hard to watch a guy like that fight his ass off and as a team be unable to get it done. It’s tough. Winning means everything him and it means everything to Dirk. I’ve got to coach these younger guys harder and better because they can do better.”
On if Vince Carter’s game was an anomaly: “I’d say so. He’s had a great year. Guys are going to have off nights. That’s just the way it goes. We had too many guys with off nights tonight. That was the problem.”
On if he feels like OJ Mayo is getting frustrated with all of his turnovers: “I would hope so. The important thing is, OJ has got to understand that he’s got to keep the game simple. He’s not a creator. He’s a scorer and a guy that can make simple plays and he’s proven that. When he starts dribbling into a crowd and trying to make things happen, that’s simply not his game.
On how the team moves forward with a tough stretch of road games coming up: “Listen, we’re due. Nobody in this league has set themselves up for most improved than us. I’m going to keep believing in these guys. That’s not going to change. My enthusiasm is not going to change. What has to change is decision-making on the floor. I’ll keep perusing the whole thing and I’ll figure out what I’ve got to do. Maybe I’ve got to sub a little differently. I don’t know. Whatever it is, we’ve got another game in 22 hours, and I’m fired up for that one.”
On what needs to change: “We just have to dig within. It’s not like we are far away and getting blown out. We’re in every game and have leads late in the game, late in the fourth quarter. We have to find a way to get stops and score some points at the end and not turn the ball over.”
On Dirk’s game: “Dirk is doing his job. We obviously have to give him some help.”
On Carlisle’s comments about him: “He told me the same thing. I’ll look to shoot the ball more and be more aggressive.”
On what he’s trying to do right now: “I’m just trying to be aggressive and make a play. The turnovers obviously hurt us tonight. I led us in turnovers so I’ve got to be better in that department.”
The game: “It was a tough loss. For some reason, we can’t get the stops we need and the big basket on the other end. We’ve been in so many close games and just make too many mistakes and turn the ball over. It seems like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot more than anything. It’s been frustrating.”
On his game: “Honestly, I wasn’t very good today at the end. I’ve got to be better. I expect better. The last two or three minutes is usually where I hang my hat. …For us to win that game today I’ve got to be perfect and I wasn’t down the stretch.”
On the team’s chances to make the playoffs: “It’s not looking good, for sure. …This is definitely getting tight. If we want to make a push, we’ve just got to find a way to win those close games. If we can’t pull it out at home, what’s the confidence level going on the road?”
On the tough stretch of road games that await them: “It’s going to be tough on the road, but we’re going to try. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and keep pushing.”
On his surge with rebounding the ball: “Sometimes the ball just falls your way. It’s crazy. …Sometimes you’ve got a magnet on your hands and it keeps falling on your side.”
On when his last 20/20 game was: “Maybe in Germany in 98? It feels like the first five weeks I came back I had a combined 20 rebounds. This is definitely an improvement. We all know that stats don’t mean anything in a loss. I’ve got to find a way to pull this one out to make this game count.”
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.