DALLAS -- Those Dallas Mavericks beards just grew a little longer.
Unable to do much with Atlanta's top three players, the Mavs had their dreams of sweeping this five-game homestand go up in flames Monday night as the Hawks prevailed, 105-101, at American Airlines Center.
The loss snapped the Mavs' modest two-game win streak and left them clinging to a 22-29 record going into the final game before the All-Star break, at home Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings.
Before the game, coach Rick Carlisle talked about his players staying process-oriented.
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"Because if you sit around and talk about the what ifs and potential results, you'll be distracted from the things that put you in position to do certain things well -- defending, stepping into shots, shooting free throws," Carlisle said. "It crosses over into anything you do in life, so that's why I think it's important."
Trailing for most of the game, the Mavs were in position to take a lead. Down 99-98, O.J. Mayo made a steal and raced downcourt and was on the verge of going in for a short shot.
But ex-Mavs guard Devin Harris flew in from behind and stole the ball back with 23.6 seconds left. Josh Smith then hit a pair of free throws to put the Hawks up 101-98.
Following the Mavs' final timeout, Mayo attempted a pass to Vince Carter with 14.9 seconds to go, but that turnover led to two free throws by Jeff Teague, which increased the Atlanta cushion to 103-98.
A 3-pointer by Dirk Nowitzki narrowed the Mavs' deficit with 103-101 with 6.4 seconds remaining. However, Kyle Korver's two free throws with 5.2 seconds left sealed the victory.
Carlisle said the game was lost early when he had to call three timeouts by the 2:20 mark of the first period when the Mavs fell behind 29-16 after Josh Smith, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds, scored after grabbing an offensive rebound.
"The game was lost in the first three minutes when we were down 10-0," Carlisle said. "If you want it simple, that's simple. It's on me. I didn't have our guys ready to play. So I'm taking all the responsibility for this."
The Mavs, who said they won't shave their facial hair until they reach the .500 mark, had five turnovers in the early going. With those gifts in tow, the Hawks turned the game into a torrid display of scoring inside the paint with one basket after another.
"You've got a team of guys that just goes out and is just walking around at the beginning of the game, that's on the coach," Carlisle said.
With those two late turnovers by Mayo, who scored 19 points, the Mavs also fell victim to some of the same miscues that put them in the hole to begin with.
"We've just got to learn from these things and get better," Carlisle said. "And we have gotten better. But we haven't broken the threshold that's going to make us a team that can really become a dangerous team."
Behind some nifty shooting by Nowitzki, who had 24 points and seven rebounds, the Mavs inched within 49-48 of the Hawks at the half. Each team shot the lights out in the third period when they both scored 33 points.
Then it came down to those final frantic seconds when turnovers again came back to bite the Mavs.
"I think we're a dangerous team," Carlisle said. "I think we can beat anybody on any given night. But the consistency has got to be better."