What happened to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night falls squarely under the category of a most egregious loss.
The injury iddled Indiana Pacers waltzed into the American Airlines Center and physically pounded the Mavs in a 111-100 upset victory.
The Mavs (10-5) now have their first losing streak of the season — albeit only two games — and must have some concerns about their inabilities to meet a physical challenge.
“When we got outscored every single quarter, that’s a demolition, really,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It was a physical demolition.
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“We’re not the most physical team in terms of our body types, but we’ve got to be real tough mentally. Indiana just played a great game. You’ve got to give them a lot of credit. They played a first-class, hard-nosed mistake-free game and they deserved to win.”
Coupled with Saturday’s 95-92 loss in Houston, the Mavs are just getting bottled up on the defensive end. Monday was bothersome, because this was the first setback this season to a team with a losing record.
The five Pacers who started Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season against Miami didn’t play because of injuries or they are with other teams. But this patched-up band of Pacers, including Seagoville native Donald Sloan (29 points), embarrassed Dallas on its own court.
“At one point midway through the first half, they were shooting 60 percent on us,” Carlisle said. “Teams get going in the NBA — regardless of their personnel situation and injuries and all that kind of stuff. Guys get going and it’s hard to stop them.
“They had a lot of guys that got going early and we needed to meet the challenge earlier in the game and sustain it, and we didn’t do it tonight.”
The Pacers (6-8) outscored the Mavs in every quarter — the first time any team has done that to Dallas all season — and beat them on the boards 44-37. Even when Indiana saw its lead dwindle to 98-93, the Mavs couldn’t chop deeper into the deficit because they compounded their own situation with a bevy of turnovers and missed free throws.
The Mavs missed eight straight field goals and four free throws when the game was still there for the taking. The Mavs slept-walked around like they were wearing two left sneakers, and the results were devastating.
“I don’t even know the words,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 22 points and collected 11 rebounds. “Horrible loss. Horrific. Awful.
“I can’t find any more words, especially after coming off a tough loss in Houston. We should have had a lot more energy ourselves.”
Monta Ellis led the Mavs with 24 points, Chandler Parsons scored 16, Brandan Wright had 13 and Jameer Nelson added 10. But the Mavs trailed 25-24 after the first period, 55-50 at the half and 85-78 going into the fourth period. They never could piece together any sustained runs.
“There’s no way around it, it’s an embarrassing loss,” Parsons said. “We have no room for this, especially in the Western Conference, how tight everything is.
“There is no excuse for this. We have to come out and play harder, and we can’t allow a team like this to come into our place and beat us.”