The NBA season started a week before the Dallas Mavericks played their first home game. And by the time it finally came around, the Mavs just didn’t have enough punches to salvage a victory.
Kyle Lowry tallied 27 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a hard-fought 102-91 victory over the Mavs before a sellout crowd of 20,034 Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavs fell to 2-2 on the season and will host the second part of this three-game homestand Thursday night against Charlotte. Toronto, which played its first basketball game 20 years to the day Tuesday, is 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Sixteen turnovers is a bad number, and it’s a losing number against a team like this.
Rick Carlisle on the Mavericks’ mistakes
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Things looked promising for the Mavs as they led 86-82 midway through the fourth quarter following a 3-pointer by Dirk Nowitzki. But Dallas went cold and watched as the Raptors stormed to a 12-0 run and assumed a 94-86 lead with 3:51 to go in the game.
“Look, they made it more their type of game — physical, grinding, a lot of physical contact,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “They turned it into a boxing match, and we needed to have it be a basketball game.
“We need to be a little tougher overall at both ends. We’ve got to get a few more stops, obviously, and then we’ve got to get the ball in the hole.”
The Mavs shot 38.4 percent from the field and were just 7-of-23 shooting from 3-point territory. They also got outscored 28-18 in a crucial fourth quarter.
“We had an abundance of paint attacks, but they’re very good at going vertical and they do a good job protecting the rim,” Carlisle said. “They’ve got good length. We’re just going to have to make some better plays. We’ll get better leverage if we get a few more stops on defense.”
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 18 points and seven rebounds. But he only got off 10 shots — making six — while playing 35 minutes.
The Mavs shot 38.4 percent from the field and were just 7-of-23 shooting from 3-point territory.
“The game just kind of got to where we couldn’t get him out a couple of times,” Carlisle said. “We took a timeout one time to get him out.”
As far as the low number of shots Nowitzki attempted, Carlisle said: “They were hanging all over him pretty much. He had some looks in the second half. But I think our overall game has just got to tighten up. Sixteen turnovers is a bad number, and it’s a losing number against a team like this.”
The Mavs got a spark from forward Chandler Parsons, who played his second straight game after missing the opening two while recovering from right knee surgery. Parsons again only played in the first half and wound up with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in 14 minutes.
“He’s doing well,” Carlisle said. “We certainly could have used him in the second half, but that’s just not in the cards. We’re going to keep going along like this for a while. He’s working hard, and we’ve just got to keep going.”
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 18 points and seven rebounds, but only attempted 10 field goals.
Toronto broke out to a nine-point lead early in the game and led 31-25 after the first period. The Mavs got their game in gear in the second period, though, and bolted ahead for a 51-49 lead at halftime.
Dwight Powell (10 points, 10 rebounds) posted the first double-double of his young career, and Deron Williams added 13 points. But buckets were hard to come by for the Mavs in their long-awaited home opener.
“We started the game loose,” Carlisle said. “We just were making some loose plays in the first quarter and it reflected in the score. Giving up 31 [points] at home in your home opener, that’s just not good enough. We had some opportunities.”