The last 72 hours have been pretty darn good for Michael Jordan.
On Sunday, Jordan’s wife gave birth to identical twin daughters. Then on Tuesday, Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats walked all over the Dallas Mavericks, winning 114-89 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
It was the worst loss of the season for the Mavs, who dropped to 31-22 after having their season-high five-game winning streak snapped. It also left the Mavs wondering how they could suffer such a meltdown when they came in playing their best basketball of the season.
“I felt like we didn’t give ourselves a chance to win this game,” said Shawn Marion, who finished with six points and four rebounds. “We went away from everything we’ve been doing well and started just basically — it became not a team concept out there.
“No one helped on defense, we weren’t sharing the ball on offense and it was a two-sided game. Our biggest Achilles’ heel is consistency on both ends of the floor night in and night out. And until we get that consistency, that’s the problems we’re going to have.”
In flatlining against the Bobcats (23-29), the Mavs allowed Charlotte to shoot 54.9 percent from the field, outscore them in every quarter and dish out a franchise-record 42 assists on 45 field goals.
It was the biggest assist total by any team in the NBA this season. Even more astonishing, all 23 baskets the Bobcats converted in the second half came via an assist.
“They played a dominant game, and we were not good in really any area,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We didn’t put up enough resistance defensively, our rebounding wasn’t there and the shot-making was off.
“But you give up 42 assists, that’s really not getting it done defensively. We deserved to be trashed, and we did [get trashed].”
The Mavs suffered a scare less than two minutes into the second quarter when Dirk Nowitzki went tumbling to the floor after colliding with Josh McRoberts. Nowitzki suffered a sprained left ankle but started the second half and finished with 16 points in 24 minutes.
“I went back and popped some pills and got loose there pretty good in the second half,” Nowitzki said. “But it really didn’t matter — we weren’t good enough.
“No matter what we did really defensively, we were a step slow to everything. So it really didn’t matter if I was going to play or not.”
Another scare popped up when Devin Harris hurt his right knee on a play involving Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions.
“He stepped on my foot and when I launched, the foot kind of stayed in place,” Harris said. “It feels all right now.”
Unfortunately, the Mavs aren’t feeling too good after suffering their worst defeat since a 127-111 home loss to Portland on Jan. 18. And especially considering they play at 6 tonight against the NBA-leading Indiana Pacers.
Al Jefferson bullied the Mavs for 30 points and eight boards, and Anthony Tolliver came off the bench to tally 22 points in 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, other than Nowitzki, the only Mavs player with more than nine points was Monta Ellis, who scored 16 and handed out seven assists.
The Bobcats blasted whatever defensive sets the Mavs turned to. Charlotte led 80-53 with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter, and the Mavs never got closer than 18 after that.
“Their disposition was there all night, and they were attacking and they had us on our heels really on both ends,” Carlisle said. “When we’re not right and not together and really on, younger more athletic teams, it’s hard to deal with them.
“Especially when you’re letting them rebound and run around and get open 3s and score on the inside.”