The interview room was buzzing as the press waited to be blessed with the sour “I-Will-Kick-All-Bunnies” demeanor of Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle following their tough 112-101 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, closing out their five-game home stand with a discouraging sign.
ESPN Dallas writer Tim MacMahon mumbled as he glanced over the final box report and when he was asked by another journalist his thoughts on why he believed the Mavericks fell to the Grizzlies, MacMahon just pointed to the final score.
It’s that simple.
Sure, there were mishandlings by officials, which set Twitter aflame as onlookers expressed their harsh distaste, but it wasn’t the referees who created a staggering 24-point deficit. It was lack of defense, turnovers, missed opportunities, and blindfolded free throws that were in desperate need of a seeing-eye dog.
Chandler Parsons, who was well hidden during this game with only 12 points to his name, anxiously put his hands to his face and exhaled in exasperation as he addressed the media. “Doesn’t get much uglier than that,” he said. “They dominated from start to finish, we made a lot of mistakes, missed a lot of open shots, free-throws. Defensively they gave us problems all night long.”
Carlisle offered no excuses as he sketched out his view of the matter. “We were poor in all areas, really. Whatever you ask me about, I really don’t have a lot of positive things to say. It’s a situation where we all own it. It’s just really a very, very bad performance, and I’m afraid it will look even worse on film.”
Parsons echoed his coach in the locker room. “We just didn’t do a good job.”
During the final six minutes of the third quarter, two technical fouls were called on Amar’e Stoudemire after disputing an offensive foul, and he was swiftly ejected from the game, causing Carlisle to receive his own technical after arguing with officials. “It was too quick for two technical fouls,” Stoudemire said of the fouls which were right on top of each other. “I’ve never received two techs that quick in my career. To be a 13-year vet, I figure I would have a little more respect (from the refs), just two technical fouls without saying a curse word to the official. But it is what it is.”
The Mavericks only managed to score 44 points during the first half of the game, something they had not done since falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers during this particular home stand. Their defense collapsed in on itself like at dying star and couldn’t manage to properly slow down the Grizzlies, who went on a 20-4 run in the young minutes of the third, especially Zach Randolph, who led Memphis with 21 points.
Stoudemire hopes that his team won’t dwell too long on the loss, but rather look ahead to Sunday, when they face former Maverick Brandan Wright and his Phoenix Suns, who are battling to break into the Western Conference top eight teams. “Tonight wasn’t a great night, but we’ll have a chance to prove it, get back to work tomorrow and go from there.”