For Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, watching the film of Thursday’s 108-94 loss to the Charlotte Hornets must have been as bad as watching it live from the sideline.
The Mavs had no pop about them, their body language was questionable, and their defensive execution was as bad as it was on offense.
Our judgment wasn’t good, our energy wasn’t good enough, and Charlotte played a very good game and we’re just going to have to do a lot better.
Coach Rick Carlisle on the Mavericks’ loss to the Hornets on Thursday
“The simple fact is we’ve got to play better than we played Thursday night,” Carlisle said after Friday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “Our judgment wasn’t good, our energy wasn’t good enough, and Charlotte played a very good game, and we’re just going to have to do a lot better.”
On the heels of giving up 44 points in the paint during Tuesday’s 102-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors, two days later the Mavs gave up 58 points inside to the Hornets.
The situation was magnified because the losses to Toronto and Charlotte came at home after the Mavs opened the season with a 2-1 road trip.
We’re not reacting to the way we did in the early games, we’re not helping each other the way that we need to.
As for the poor judgment and low energy shown against the Hornets, Carlisle isn’t sure where that came from.
“But we looked at it again [Friday] and it’s got to change,” Carlisle said. “I know that we have good guys that care and we’ve got to pick it up.
“It’s not acceptable to come home and play the way we’re playing. We just can’t stand for that.”
The Mavs (2-3) hope the tide turns in their favor at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when they host the New Orleans Pelicans at AAC in the finale of a three-game homestand.
“We’re not reacting to the way we did in the early games, we’re not helping each other the way that we need to,” Carlisle said. “And just generally speaking our energy level is down, and we’ve got to realize it, we’ve got to acknowledge it, and we’ve got to change it.”
Point guard Deron Williams also is realizing that he has some catching up to do. After sitting out most of training camp with calf issues, Williams acknowledged that his game is not where he wants it to be.
“I’m still getting acclimated, I’m still trying to get my legs under me,” Williams said. “I haven’t practiced much in the last month-and-a-half, so this is essentially training camp for me.
“I’m going through getting my wind, getting my legs. You can assimilate riding the bike all you want, but it’s not the same as being 30 minutes in a game.”
Carlisle appreciates the effort Williams has given the Mavs, although he knows he’s not at full strength.
“All things considered, he’s in a tough spot and he’s pushing through,” Carlisle said. “He’s banged up, he’s not feeling great, but he’s out here playing and he’s been practicing.
“It is a lot like being in training camp in that perspective. He’s just got to keep going — that’s just the bottom line. He’s one of our new guys, and we’ve got a lot of new guys, and we’ve got to get these guys playing together so they can develop chemistry in a collective toughness and camaraderie, because [Thursday] night we were missing that.”
JaVale McGee could help limit some of the attacks to the basket by opponents. But the Mavs are being cautious with the 7-foot center, who is rehabbing from a left tibial stress fracture.
“He’s doing better, but it’s a weeks, not a days thing,” Carlisle said. “He’s not going to be on the court playing in games in November, I can almost promise you that.”
The Mavs also were missing Chandler Parsons in the first half against Charlotte. The small forward, under a minutes restriction after off-season knee surgery, convinced Carlisle to play him only in the second half so he could be on the floor in crunch time.
But crunch time never came as the Mavs were a minus-16 points with Parsons on the floor after trailing the Hornets by just one point at halftime.
“I give him a lot of credit for being willing to do that,” Carlisle said. “I don’t know any other NBA player that would say, ‘Hey, to give us more options in the second half, I’ll wait until the second half to play.’
“I thought it was an unusual sacrifice for a guy and I thought it was something we should look at, and we did.”
Will the Mavs step out and save Parsons for just the second half of Saturday’s game against the Pelicans?
“As I said two days ago, everything is on the table, anything is on the table,” Carlisle said. “Anything that can help us progress as a team is on the table.”