Could this be the fulcrum, the point this season balanced on; lean one way and fall into the lottery…
Monday Mavs Donuts: Dirk, Monta, Kidd Video
DONUT 1: Nets 107, Mavs 104 ...
This year's edition of the Dallas Mavericks is supposed to be veteran enough to be able to close -- consistently close -- especially against supposedly inferior clubs. But Sunday at the AAC, we once again saw the Mavs crumble in overtime, giving Brooklyn a 107-104 victory.
This means two eerily similar OT losses in one week, a crummy 2-2 record on a "cushy'' homestand and an 0-3 record in overtimes this year ... And even as we all agree that this year's Mavs are superior to last year's version, more eeriness: Over the last two seasons, Dallas is a combined 3-11 in overtime.
Can't somebody close this thing out?
Over a time spanning the final 42 seconds of regulation and the first 3:35 of OT, Dallas got outscored 16-4.
"This is where we are,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "This is a very exciting time, and we've got to treat every single possession with utmost respect. We just had too many lapses. A lot of them were on innocent plays when we had a lead, but you know, in a one-possession game, those things come back on you.''
DONUT 2: The official NBA highlight reel ...
DONUT 3: Where you stand …
The Mavs are 42-29 and have been nudged back into eighth place in the Western Conference. They're an eyelash behind the Memphis Grizzlies and they're only a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. They've split the first four games of the homestand while playing four teams with inferior records. That changes Tuesday with OKC coming to town.
"Eleven games left – next one's the biggest one,'' Carlisle said. "That's how it's going to be every night."
DONUT 4: Dirk's Video Visit …
Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting and looked lethargic doing so. It was arguably his poorest game of the season and we shouldn't be surprised that the final score reflects that.
"Are we concerned? Yeah, of course,'' said Dirk when asked about the playoff picture. "That's another tough loss. We're up four with 40 seconds to go, we got to find a way to get one stop and maybe one basket. We kind of let that one slip away in regulation."
The concern about the playoff picture is major. The concern about Dirk's "napping'' week is addressed here.
DONUT 5: Calderon's face …
Point guard Jose Calderon absorbed an elbow to the face just 45 seconds into the game, and while he left and did not return, the Mavs don't believe the injury is a major problem.
"We don't think it's serious, but I have not gotten an official word on it,'' said Carlisle. "He got hit in the mouth. I don't really have the details. I saw him at halftime; he was in the locker room at halftime. He's OK, but I think there's some stuff in the mouth they're looking at."
We're told there's nothing broken, just a lot of blood and a lot of swelling ... and that Calderon will visit with the media on Tuesday and will hope to play that night at the AAC against the Thunder.
DONUT 6: The Birthday Kidd …
Mavs championship team member Jason Kidd made his in-Dallas debut as a Nets coach and did so on his 41st birthday. His Video Visit:
By the way, regarding Kidd's possible jersey retirement in Dallas, Mavs owner Mark Cuban remained non-committal.
Or maybe "remained coy'' is the better description, because surely this is an inevitability. Or should be.
DONUT 7: Active Dalembert …
Sam Dalembert knocked down a perimeter shot. Made clutch free throws. Blocked seven shots. Scored 12 points. Pulled down 15 boards.
As Someone tweeted in the middle of it all, "Dalembert is saving Dirk's ass, as usual.''
"He did a nice job tonight,'' Carlisle said of Sam. "He was really active, really into it. We need that every game."
Well ... sure. Your starting center being a 12/15/7 guy every night would be lovely. But more realistically than that: Your starting center being a 12/15/7 guy on this night and losing on this night seems like such a waste.
DONUT 8: Quotable …
The NFL is "10 years away from an implosion. I'm just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy. Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. … When you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."
That's Mavs owner Mark Cuban talking about the NFL. The full story and my column on the subject is here.
DONUT 9: Trix' Video Visit …
"It's frustrating,'' said Shawn Marion. "We had a chance to put a stamp on these guys earlier in the game and we didn't do it. We let them get back in the game slowly but surely. We stopped doing what we do and started playing their style of play."
DONUT 10: Dirk's digits …
Is something wrong with Dirk physically? Mechanically? Just tired legs, maybe? Over the last four games, Dirk is just 28-of-71. That's 39.4 percent. Move out a bit and shoot from the arc and he's 5-of-20.
DONUT 11: Monta: No panic ...
"This is not the time to panic,'' said Monta, who scored 32 -- including two last-gasp 3's - while playing on a bum thigh. "We have a lot of games ahead. We still have four more home games ... We are going to try to get these four. But we are going to take it one game at a time and keep pushing to our goal of where we need to go."
Monta's Video Visit:
DONUT 12: The Final Word …
Carlisle likes to talk about Dallas being a team of balance, of having designed an offense that isn't overly Dirk-reliant. There is sense there, and truth. But here's more truth:
The Mavs aren't going to win games with Nowitzki flirting with single-digit scoring, as was the case here. And here's the proof: The last time the Mavs won a game that Dirk played in and scored under five points (and again, he flirted with that number for way too long on Sunday) was against the Clippers on December 10, 2002.
So Dirk scores this poorly, Dallas wins ... about once in a decade.
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