DALLAS – There was nothing magical about the way the Dallas Mavericks are losing games.
They know it.
The Mavs, according to guard Wesley Matthews, just need to play every game with a sense of urgency. Play every game as if it was their last game.
"That’s what we have to do,’’ Matthews said, after Friday’s 111-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Center. "That’s the team that we have to beat and continue to beat and remember what that was about.
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"It was a defensive effort, it was energy effort, and it was just a gutsy and big-time performance all across the board.’’
The victory enabled to the Mavs to take a 5-17 record into Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets. And it came after the Mavs had a team meeting right after Wednesday’s embarrassing 31-point home loss to the Sacramento Kings.
"I think it was one of our better games,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "We are in desperate need of wins – that is obvious.
"We really played a solid game tonight.’’
Matthews tied his season high with 26 points, Harrison Barnes poured in 25 points, and Deron Williams added 16 points and six assists. Dwight Powell (14 points, five rebounds) and Dorian Finney-Smith (12 points, boards) also were heavy contributors for the Mavs.
Matthews said: "Dorian had a great game, Dwight came in with a lot of energy that impacted us, Seth (Curry) came in and made plays, Nico (Brussino) knocked down a shot, Salah (Mejri) played with more energy and gave us a rim presence. That is what we have to continue to do.
"We have to do it by committee.’’
And that committee is led by Matthews, who Carlisle said earlier this week is the team’s leader in and out of the locker room.
"It is a huge thing because your leadership in the locker room has to be steadfast about the importance of competing, the importance of doing winning things and the belief that you can do it,’’ Carlisle said. "The other thing that is interesting is last night Wes had an event for his foundation at a hotel in Park Cities.
"The entire team was there along with the entire coaching staff. I thought that everyone being there in support of him was a great team building moment for this club going through what we are going through. A lot of these things carried over to tonight.’’
And that carry-over wasn’t a bad thing for the Mavs.
"We just wanted to come out and compete,’’ Finney-Smith said. "We felt like we left a lot out there on the court (Wednesday) night.
"We had a good practice and we tried to come out here tonight and give it our all.’’