PHOENIX Dirk Nowitzki didn’t exactly sound any warning bells.
But the Dallas Mavericks’ 12-time All-Star knows things are amiss right now and need to get uprighted quickly. All of that became crystallized in Tuesday’s 124-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center when the Mavericks played so inconsistent and was throwing the ball around so wildly that they looked like a team that needed to be introduced to one another.
“We just got to get used to playing with each other a little more and get a practice under our belt,’’ Nowitzki said. “It’s about defense, it’s about not turning the ball over and being efficient offensively.
“Everybody knows we’re not the most athletic team in the league. We’ve got to use our brains and we’ve got to play smart at both ends of the floor.’’
Well, none of that happened against the Suns as Phoenix tallied 28 points off 20 Dallas turnovers.
Amazing, the game turned midway through the second quarter when the Mavericks led 39-30, then committed six turnovers on their ensuing seven possessions. The Sun capitalized on the Mavericks’ bad plays and ended the first half on a 23-6 run to lead 53-45 at intermission.
“I felt like some of our turnovers weren’t smart,’’ said Nowitzki, who tallied 18 of his 22 points in the second half. “We try to force a lob pass in there against an athletic team and there’s three guys shooting in the paint to go get that.
“We just tried to make plays that weren’t there. We’ve got to learn from them and be better.’’
In the two games prior to Tuesday’s game since the Mavericks acquired point guard Rajon Rondo in a trade with Boston, Nowitzki had just 29 points on 10-of-27 shots. On Tuesday, the 17-year veteran converted seven-of-12 shots, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.
“I felt good in warmups and just wanted to be a little more aggressive,’’ Nowitzki said. “I feel like I need to be involved a little more and go for it and help the boys on both ends of the floor.
“Everybody’s got to raise their game up. We’ve got some tough games coming up after Christmas, so we’ve got to figure this out pretty quick.’’
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760