We’ve seen this movie before with the Mavericks and it’s a tough watch.
After going into half time with a 13-point lead, the Mavericks dropped the ball in the second half, as the Suns outscored Dallas 36-19 in the third quarter, hardly looking back for the rest of the game, winning 117-115.
“The third quarter was the decisive part of the game. That’s pretty obvious,” Carlisle said.
Second half woes
These second half struggles have become a revolving door for the Mavericks this season. In several instances, Dallas has come out firing in the first half of games, going into the half with a solid lead to only blow that said lead in the third quarter and losing the game.
Is it complacency? Lack of mental toughness? Lack of adjustments? Whatever it is, this isn’t the time to let a bad habit continue, with the playoffs right around the corner. The team’s first postseason berth since 2015-16 at that.
“We’ve got to learn from these mistakes. It’s little details. We’ve got to start the third quarter stronger and be physical. We have to learn from this,” Luka said postgame.
Small details and mental lapses on the defensive end are what did it for Dallas tonight. The complacency and comfort level was evident at the start of the third but a Monty Williams coached team will sniff that out and make you pay, as the Suns did.
Lesser competition woes
That’s right. More woes.
Along with second half struggles, the Mavericks have consistently played down to their competition’s level, losing games they should win with no trouble. Losses like to the Knicks (twice), Suns (twice), and Hawks just to name a few.
Championship teams don’t lose these type of games. Sure, every team will drop a game here and there against lesser competition but it doesn’t become a habit. That habit for the Mavericks has certainly affected their playoff seeding, as they could easily be sitting closer to the 4th seed than the 7th seed if not for those blunders.
Clutch situation woes
You guessed it – MORE woes!
The Mavericks are no strangers to losing close games, as tonight showed. Tonight’s game was the Mavericks 10th loss decided by three points or less, the most in the NBA.
Mavs are now 2-10 in games decided by 3 points or less. That's the most losses in those situations in the league.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 3, 2020
To make the playoffs, that’s one thing. But to compete in the playoffs, you have to be able to finish and win close games. Period. Clutch situations are where legends are made and champions are crowned.
If the Mavericks can’t compose themselves when the game is on the line, then they won’t make it very far in the postseason, especially if they remain in the 7th spot (they will) and find themselves matched up against the Clippers (they will).
Despite the disappointing loss, Luka and KP came to play tonight. And they played damn well. Luka finished with 40 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists while making 18/19 free throws.
Yes, 18 of 19. That’s not a typo. Luka’s ability and savviness to attack the basket tonight was superb. If he can continue to not just get to the line but make his frees, that fares very well for the Mavericks.
Kristaps continued his hot shooting, scoring 30 points on his 25th birthday. His ability to shoot over any and all defenders makes him such a tough guard from the perimeter. He also added eight rebounds and four blocks.
Outside of Dallas’ two superstars, the production was pretty thin besides 16 points from Seth Curry. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith shot a combined 3/20, including THJ missing the game-winning three at the end of regulation.
The Mavericks matchup against the Kings on Tuesday.
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