There are more than enough times when it’s acceptable for a strong team to surrender up a loss to an equally as powerful team or one that is even more so. Then there are times when the high school quarterback has his ass straight up kicked by a five-year old little girl donning ringlets and a lollypop. This is what the Dallas Mavericks’ Saturday night loss to the Brooklyn Nets felt like: a giant “what the hell?” cluster-f… mess. A giant cluster-mess, yeah, that came in the form of the third quarter, where the stronger team decided to take a nap.
“They (Nets) played great, and we didn’t play well,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle stated post game. “We got bombed that and that was the game. The rest of it was either even or we were up a point or two. The third quarter did us in.”
After taking the 51-47 lead out of the first half, Dallas started to falter after Brooklyn went on a 10-2 run to kick off that inevitable third quarter, not giving two tiny rat’s asses that the home team was 27-3 when they were able to hold their opponent below 50 points in the first half of the game. But that’s truly not a factor when your starting backcourt is only 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting while Brooklyn’s Deron Williams is 24 points on 9-of-13.
“We got stops when we needed to and made plays,” Williams said of the Nets’ 104-92 win. “We still made some mistakes down the stretch but we fought and battled.” Williams finished out the game with 25 points and six rebounds.
This was Rajon Rondo’s first game back after he was dealt a one-game suspension for his screaming match with Carlisle, and he looked to be back in regular season form. And by regular season form, I mean committing unnecessary turnovers right out of the gate. But the loss wasn’t just one player’s fault.
“As a team, we struggled,” Carlisle said. “The games are going to continue to be hard. I don’t care what anybody’s record is, whether they’re coming in here or we’re going in there. This team tonight is a damn good basketball team. They’ve got a lot of really good players. They got juiced up for tonight after being disappointed last night and kind of blowing the game at the end. Give them a lot of credit; we just didn’t do well enough.”
With both Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons still out, Carlisle decided to kick off the game with a three-guard starting line up and power forward Dirk Nowitzki playing the 5, a line-up that seemed to work in favor of the Mavericks after a majority of their scoring came from fast break points or points off of the Nets’ turnovers in the first.
There were some highlights for the Mavs, including a sick 360-degree reverse layup from Monta Ellis off of a feed from Rondo, Devin Harris (who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Saturday) buzzard beaters, Dirk with a monster fast break dunk from Harris that was vaguely akin to the dunk he laid down at the All-Star game, and Amar’e Stoudemire taking a beer bath after he chased a loose ball into courtside seats.
I understand that the Nets are underestimated by stronger teams a majority of the time, but this was just abysmal considering the fact that the visiting team was on the tail end of a back-to-back. I’m embarrassed for you, Mavs. And this is coming from someone who tucks their skirt into their underwear daily and is a Tennessee Titans fan.
The Mavericks look to bounce back when they face the New Orleans Pelicans at home on Monday night.