The Mavericks made the mistake Thursday night of getting into a shooting contest with the Golden State Warriors.
The results were ugly.
Unable to exploit a major size advantage, the Mavericks also could not keep pace with the revved-up offense of the Warriors, who took charge late in the third quarter and cruised to a 147-116 triumph over the Mavericks to open a seven-game home stand.
Steph Curry and Kelly Oubre Jr. combined for 68 points and Draymond Green played point-center to the tune of 15 assists to go with 11 points as the Warriors overcame a major manpower shortage.
The Mavericks had a good 3-point shooting night. They made 20 of them, tying their season high for triples in a game.
But when they went through their health and safety protocol checks coming into the arena, they also must have checked their defense at the door of American Airlines Center.
That’s why they fell to 9-14. It was their 10th loss in the last 13 games. It also was their sixth consecutive loss on their home floor, where they are 2-7 for the season.
The good news is they will have a chance to avenge the loss Saturday night against the Warriors. That was no consolation on Thursday night, however.
“We hung in well and had a halftime lead because we had a great shotmaking first half,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “And we got seduced into a shootout with these guys. And our defense wasn’t there in the third quarter. We had too many lapses.
“It’s a disposition thing. Listen, there’s no excuses. I’m not going to play the back-to-back card. We got to be a better defensive team. I think we got sucked into the wrong kind of game with these guys.”
Which can’t happen in the rematch on Saturday if the Mavericks expect the results to be any different. They’ll have to be better and probably tweak a few things at both ends of the court in the second game of the baseball-type series.
The Mavericks were on the second night of a back-to-back, having snapped their six-game losing streak Wednesday at Atlanta while Golden State was watching the game back in Dallas, waiting on their opponent.
But it wasn’t like the Warriors were fully functional. They were without any true big men as highly regarded rookie James Wiseman (wrist) and key backup Kevon Looney (ankle) were out with injuries. So was Eric Paschall, who at 6-6 and 255 pounds would have been the next-man-up at center were he not out with a knee problem.
So Green was the default center and the Warriors didn’t play anybody taller than 6-7 Andrew Wiggins.
And so, the Mavericks had a huge size advantage. Even with that, they were outrebounded for the game and while they shooting the ball well, they were unable to take advantage of the smallish Warriors.
They had only 36 points in the paint, third-lowest paint production of the season.
And while they came into the game with the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA as a team, they still tried to match the Warriors 3-pointer for 3-pointer in the first half. And it worked, for a while. But it turned out to be fool’s gold as the teams combined for 150 points in the half with the Mavericks up 76-74.
They were outscored 73-40 in the second half.
““Defense,” said Jalen Brunson, who had 18 points off the bench. “You got to play it. I mean, 147 points is unheard of. We’ve done the things we know we can do defensively. But we got to do it on an every-game basis.”
The Mavericks got 27 points from Luka Doncic and 25 from Kristaps Porzingis, but when the Warriors turned an 89-89 tie into a 110-96 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Mavericks were done.
“It was a tough one tonight,” Porzingis said. “We want to be better and we will be better than this. We’re looking forward to Saturday.”
To that end, the defensive effort was bad enough that Porzingis said the team watched the entire third quarter in the locker room after the game.
“We looked at our mistakes,” Porzingis said. “It was good. We used to do that when I was playing in Spain. And it helps. Everybody’s there and everybody sees everybody’s mistakes. And we can talk about stuff and be honest.
“And make sure you correct those mistakes going forward. That was good. We’ll try to grow as a team. We’re still a little behind where we want to be.”