Culture of Hoops

The Wrong End of the Knife: Mavericks Lose Fourth Straight Game

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

“I’m sure they’ll boo me,” Dallas Mavericks Chandler Parsons shrugged following a painful loss against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday when asked about having another shot at his former team, a powerful team that opted not to match an offer made to him, thus making a rival even more powerful. “It’s just another game.”

It’s ambiguous on exactly why fans hovered in the Toyota Center on Wednesday evening often took to heavily vocalizing their hate for a great player who did nothing to warrant the flagitious boos from the crimson laced crowd. Nevertheless, the apathetic chants ensued whenever Parsons touched the ball from the start of the game against his former team, the Houston Rockets.

The Mavericks, after slip-sliding into a losing streak, were looking to sharply right their course with a win over the Rockets and hand that coveted 600th win that has been denied to Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle over the last few losses.

Apparently, they really don’t want him to have it.

Amidst the callas jeers from the Houston crowd, the Mavericks showed they meant business when Parsons gave the middle finger to Rocket naysayers in the form of a three that sent the visitors on a 10-0 run before James Harden laid down a trey to put Houston on the board. The physical nature of the game came out in the first quarter when Dirk Nowitzki was nailed in the grill with a sharp elbow from Harden, which caused him to check out briefly, giving the deep Dallas bench a chance to shine early on, something they’ve been hesitant to do during the past couple losses. Al-Farouq Aminu helped push the lead to 21-11, but Houston ended up trimming the score to a quick 23-19 with 2:26 left in the first. Leading by as many as 10 points, the Mavericks took a measly 25-24 edge into the second due to nine turnovers that resulted in 11 Rocket points.

Houston took the lead 33-29 with 9:02 remaining in the half due to a lackluster performance from the Dallas bench, especially Devin Harris, who was 0-of-3 with two turnovers in only six minutes. The Mavericks tied the game up 44-44 with three minutes left in the second, but managed to turnover the ball yet again and despite 17 points from Monta Ellis and 13 from Parsons, Dallas trailed Houston 54-53 by the half.

Trevor Ariza, who was quiet in the first half for the home team, came alive in the third and was 4-5 from the field for 10 points in less than six minutes as Dallas continued to dig themselves into a hole. Ellis carried the Mavs solely on his shoulders with his 31 points by the end of the quarter, yet his team was down by three (81-78) upon entering the fourth.

The final 12 ticks did the Mavericks in. Despite the palpable Houston favoritism from referees, it wasn’t what led to Dallas’ horrific loss. It wasn’t the crucial two missed free throws by Tyson Chandler when a flagrant foul was called on Harden after he clotheslined the center with 16.3 seconds remaining in the game. It was an inbounds sequence that led to yet another turnover for the Mavericks with 10 seconds left, bringing the turnover total to a season high 24. The Mavs would end up falling to the Rockets 99-94.

In the past two Maverick losses (Rockets and the Grizzlies), the turnover count resulted in 52 scored points by the opposing team, so it’s plain to see that there’s no use in pointing fingers at terrible calls by blindfolded refs. Dallas clearly needs to clean up their act so they can finally hand Carlisle that 600th win and maintain a strong presence in the stacked Western Conference.

Mavericks head to Miami to face the Heat on Friday.

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