DALLAS -- It's back to the lab for the world champion Dallas Mavericks.
One day after losing to Miami by 11, the Mavs looked no different in losing Monday night to the Denver Nuggets, 115-93, at American Airlines Center.
Monday's game looked like a carbon copy of Sunday's regular season opener when the Heat had their way with a Dallas squad that has looked lethargic.
The Mavs trailed Miami 97-65 after three quarters and by as much as 35 points in the fourth quarter. On Monday, the Mavs trailed the Nuggets 97-68 after three quarters and by as much as 33 in the fourth quarter.
The Mavs' defense has struggled out of the gate. Just like the Heat on Sunday, the Nuggets enjoyed a layup drill and a bunch of forays attacking the basket for dunks.
"It's on all of us, but it's on me more than anybody, not having these guys ready to play," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I've got to look at this very closely and then come Wednesday we've got to go back at it.
"The biggest thing we've got to do is rebuild trust defensively. We've lost some, we've lost a lot, and I've got to do a better job of coaching these guys; it's as simple as that."
The Mavs trailed 32-23 after the first period and 69-42 at the half. Fans were so restless that they started booing, which is unusual two games into a season where the Mavs are the defending world champions.
"I'm the head coach and it's my job to make sure that these guys are ready to play, and it's clear that they're not," Carlisle said. "Right now that's something that's not easy for me to say, and it's not an easy thing to live with, so, I've got a lot of work to do.
"These guys have been a hard matchup for us for three years, but it's not an excuse. We've got to get better."
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 20 points. One of the other few bright spots was the play of free agent center Sean Williams.
Williams played just 11 minutes, scored 12 points, grabbed three rebounds, and was 4-of-4 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line.
But he drew laughter from his teammates when he left the game with 3:25 remaining, and threw up in the bench area. Williams even laughed at himself.
"It was awkward, actually, throwing up on the floor,'' he said. "It's never happened to me before. Not ever. Not on the practice. Never.
"I try to bring energy and use my athleticism to have an impact on the game," Williams said.
Carlisle was pleased with Williams' play.
"He did a terrific job, he brought energy, he brought athleticism, he made plays," Carlisle said.
"He was playing so hard he threw up, so that tells you that he was going at it the way he needs to."
The Mavs may play Williams more when they play at Oklahoma City on Thursday.
"I thought I wasn't going to get a second chance, so I'm just going to come out here and do all I can and show all I've got," Williams said.
"There are certain roles that need to be filled for a team to get where they want to be, and I just hope I can find a place and a role that can help this team succeed."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760