Remember back in November? Where Luka was maybe the best player in the league? When the Mavs were mowing down elite teams in their own building? When basketball was fun?
After two consecutive blowouts at home, it’s pretty clear that this is a team that needs a break. The problem however, is that they still have four games before All-Star week is here to rescue them.
Unsurprisingly, their coach won’t let them rest on that idea. He expects more from his guys and himself.
“Well, we hope not,” Carlisle said of his team being distracted by the looming break. “There are no excuses…I’ve just got to get these guys more prepared to play.”
Tonight’s 121-107 drubbing at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies feels like a new low. It was their 13th home loss in only their 26th outing.
It comes after grabbing a huge win in Indiana against the Pacers. Fans got to feel a sense of hope, like the team could manage another difficult stretch without Luka.
Maybe that’s still doable, but a dejected Carlisle didn’t exactly inspire confidence postgame.
“Ugly game for us,” he said to open his presser. “They carried the action for most of the night. Just a very disappointing performance.”
Big picture the team is still fine. They have a 20-year-old Luka Doncic and a unicorn slowly regaining his form (albeit with a freshly broken nose). Two assets other teams would love to have.
Their schedule is also about to soften up. Only two of their next nine games will come against opponents with winning records. Combine that with their sure to improve health, and the Mavericks should be back at full capacity in no time.
For the time being though, they just need to rally the troops and stand pat out West. A slide in the standings could mean a first-round matchup with either of the L.A. teams in the playoffs. An outcome nobody in Dallas should want.
It’s human nature to look forward. Especially during the “dog days” of the season, as Carlisle calls them. But it is imperative to not have too much slippage and the staff is surely drilling that point home.