There's no sugar-coating the pitiful play of the Dallas Mavericks right now. After suffering an embarrassing blowout loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, it was more of the same on Friday night, as the Mavs got ran off the court yet again in a 120-101 loss. Dallas, now 8-11 on the season, is taking a nosedive, having lost four consecutive games and seven of their last nine overall. The Jazz have now won 11 games in a row and currently hold the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference standings.
It didn't take long to know what kind of night was in store for the Mavs after they went down 37-12 after the first quarter. And this was after Dallas had started the previous game against Utah in a 32-19 hole. The Mavs have had their fair share of misfortune this season with players missing a handful of games due to both injury-related reasons or Covid-19. However, that doesn't excuse the lack of effort we've seen from guys not named Luka Doncic during this disappointing skid.
"It's a tough stretch and we've got to fight through it,” said Rick Carlisle of his team’s struggles. “Right now, it's about sticking together and fighting through this thing."
As much as we agree with Carlisle’s message, we can’t help but wonder how much of that is actually resonating with his players at the moment. And if that is the case, the Mavs’ front office will have to address the roster issues and make necessary trades before this thing snowballs out of control. At some point, if the losses keep stacking up, trying to ‘fight through it’ just simply might not be enough.
It seemed that Doncic might have been sending that same message to his team during postgame interviews.
"There’s really not much to say,” said a dejected Doncic. “I never felt like this. We’ve got to do something, because this is not looking good. We’ve got to step up and just talk to each other and play way better than this. It’s mostly effort."
Doncic did all he could in this one, putting up 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 32 minutes. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Doncic needs some more help from his teammates right now, whether that's from the guys already on the roster or from other players via potential trades.
The Mavs desperately need Kristaps Porzingis to morph back into the 'Unicorn' we all witnessed in the NBA's Orlando 'Bubble'. Porzingis' shooting struggles continued tonight, though, as he finished with 11 points and nine rebounds while shooting 4-of-14 from the field and 1-of-5 from deep. Porzingis only played 24 minutes due to Rudy Gobert keeping him in foul trouble throughout the night.
Things aren't going to get any easier for the Mavs, at least not this weekend, as they will now return to Dallas to face the Phoenix Suns on a second night of a back-to-back. The Suns are 9-8 on the season and currently occupy the 7th spot in the Western Conference standings. The last time these team met was in the season opener, where Phoenix beat Dallas 106-102.