The Mavericks have lost two games in a row for the first time since Christmas and hopefully they remember how this feels.

Good teams don’t like to feel the sting of defeat once, much less twice against teams that already have punched their tickets to the lottery this season.

The Mavericks lost at Orlando on Sunday by two points and to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night by six in overtime.

These are games that can never be made up (more on that in a minute). But what the Mavericks can’t do is allow two losses to become three in a row. They have a very good Philadelphia team with MVP candidate Joel Embiid coming to American Airlines Center on Friday.

It’s the sort of game that can take the sting out of the last two if the Mavericks take care of business.

But first, let us sift through the rubble of Wednesday night’s loss to OKC with our takeaways.

STILL NOT DOMINATING: The Mavericks wanted to have a fortress at AAC where teams had to really play well and have things go their way to get a win. They also were hoping to feast on the Eastern Conference. The home court has been better than it was last year, but still not as strong as they’d like. Last year after 26 home games they were 12-14 before finishing the season by winning nine of their last 10 at AAC in the shortened season. Similarly, with Sunday’s loss to Orlando, the Mavericks are 7-10 against the Eastern Conference. With the Sixers, Atlanta and Detroit coming to town in the next three games, now would be a good time to start exercising some clout over the East.

LATE BREAKDOWNS: Starting with the overtime-forcing layup that they surrendered on an inbounds pass with 7.5 seconds left in regulation, the Mavericks had no luck whatsoever stopping the young, vibrant Thunder late in the game. OKC made four of five shots in the overtime. They also got to the free-throw line eight times, making seven. Basically, the Mavericks couldn’t guard the Thunder without fouling. End of story.

WASTED GEM: Luka Dončić continued his incredible run of late with 40 points and 10 assists. Yes, he needed 33 shots to get his points, but there were times when Luka tried his best to drag the Mavericks to a victory. But he also had misfires. He admitted the fadeaway 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer was an ill-advised shot. He also knew he got beat on the Thunder’s tying layup moments earlier. The defensive end was the killer in this one.

THREE WITH 20-PLUS: In addition to Dončić, the Mavericks also got 20 points from Jalen Brunson and 23 off the bench from Reggie Bullock. It’s the third time this season they’ve had three players top 20 points in the same game. Unfortunately, the Mavericks are 1-3 in these games. When the opponents place three with 20 or more points, they are 4-0.

NEEDING SOME HELP: The one area where the Mavericks definitely need 7-3 Kristaps Porzingis back is rebounding. They were crushed 50-39 on the boards by OKC. The Mavericks are hopeful Porzingis returns from his right knee bone bruise soon, perhaps Friday against Philadelphia. But after a long stretch of solid rebounding numbers, the Mavericks have slipped lately and need to refocus in that department, with or without Porzingis.

Twitter: @ESefko

Share and comment

More Mavs News