Here’s our second-chance points about the Mavericks’ 110-107 loss at Toronto on Sunday, which included a franchise-worst-tying collapse.
Five bad beats: For those of you who are only happy when you’re miserable, here’s the list of the biggest leads that got away in Mavericks history:
30 85-55 @Toronto 107-110 12/22/19
30 66-36 @LA Lakers 103-105 12/6/02
27 85-58 Phoenix 108-109 (OT) 3/2/97
26 51-25 @Atlanta 111-114 10/24/18
26 63-37 Seattle 105-113 3/22/92
Trap game: The Mavericks were in sort of a Ricky Ricardo mode after the game. “Wha’ happened?” was the common theme about the game, which started with the Mavericks missing their first 11 shots, falling behind 9-0, charging ahead by 30, then getting run down at the end as they let the trapping press undo them. “I don’t know what happened, to be honest,” Kristaps Porzingis said. “It was kind of weird. But it is what it is. We just didn’t react to their pressure and to their energy. And that was it. They made their huge run and we didn’t respond.” The trapping full-court defense had a major impact. The Mavericks had seven turnovers in the fourth quarter and five of those were Toronto steals. Rick Carlisle called timeouts, but nothing could reverse the momentum. It was a hard lesson to learn.
Rare off night: The Mavericks’ reserves have been terrific all season, but Sunday was one of those games the backups would rather forget. Toronto’s bench outscored the Mavericks’ 48-20. In the second half, it was 36-2 and everybody off the Toronto pine was at least a plus-29 while they were on the court during that time. Chris Boucher, a long, lanky 6-10 forward in his third season out of Oregon, was averaging just 4 points per game coming in. But he finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, along with four blocked shots. The energy wasn’t there on this night for the Mavericks’ bench. And their shooting eyes deserted them. They were 5-of-27 from the field, including Seth Curry’s 0-for-7. Not that they were alone. The entire team only shot 38.9 percent.
Impressive run: Since sliding into the starting lineup because of Luka Doncic’s injury, Jalen Brunson has been putting up strong numbers. He’s averaged 12.8 points and 9.5 assists in the four starts. He’s not flashy, but he has gotten the job done as the Mavericks have gone 2-2 in a very challenging stretch of the schedule without Doncic. All of that said, it will be a welcomed sight to see Doncic back in uniform, presumably not long after Christmas.
Nice break, but don’t get used to it: The Mavericks don’t play again until Thursday against San Antonio at American Airlines Center. While they have been going through their rebuild, they have not exactly been a target of the sports networks for national TV games. They haven’t played on Christmas Day, when the league typically has five nationally televised games, since 2012, the year after their championship when the lockout meant that the season began on Christmas Day. The Mavericks played Miami in a rematch of the finals that day. They probably better not get too used to having Christmas off. With the rising star of Luka Doncic, there appears to be a very good chance the Mavericks will be playing in one of the showcase games on Christmas in years to come.