Collison takes blame for Jazz loss

DALLAS -- Darren Collison surveyed the situation and determined it was his fault the Dallas Mavericks couldn't find a way to beat the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

The Mavs led 63-55 at halftime, but were outscored 37-13 by the Jazz in the third quarter and went on to fall 113-94.

In the third quarter, the Mavs were 5 of 22 from the field and committed six turnovers. Collison said that as the point guard, he should have had better control of what the Mavericks were trying to do on offense.

"I think they imposed their will the first five minutes," said Collison, who scored a team-high 17 points to go with seven assists. "We came out a little stagnant [in the third quarter].

"We didn't necessarily have the same ball movement we did in the first half, and the onus is on me. We should have gotten the ball moving the first five minutes and then be on the attack."

Instead, it was the Jazz who broke free from a 74-74 tie and seized control of the game by outscoring the Mavs 18-2 over the final 4:23 of the third quarter.

"I thought we played a good first half," Collison said. "The second half, the first five minutes of the third quarter, that's when we got too stagnant. I'll take the onus as the point guard. That's on me."

Coach Rick Carlisle, however, said it was not Collison's fault.

Carlisle pointed out that Collison had 17 points and four assists in the season-opening 99-91 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

"Two solid games," Carlisle said of Collison. "He's done a good job and he's going to get better.

"He's been a score-first point guard and I don't want him to lose that mentality because that's a weapon for us. But at the same time being able to do that and keep his teammates involved is something that he's done well and is a real positive sign for us."

Carlisle said he likes what he sees from Collison.

"Collison is going to be great for us," Carlisle said. "He's what we expected and he's going to get better as each passing week goes by.

"He's a really good point guard who understands the game, he can score, and he has a good feel for being the setup guy."

That feel is magnified twofold because the Mavs have nine new players, and Collison has the task of searching for a way to make it all work on offense.

It became even more apparent in the game-changing third quarter against the Jazz when the Mavs looked disjointed on offense.

"I've got a lot on my shoulders as far as being the point guard, but I'm accepting the challenge," Collison said.

"It's more about me adjusting to them as well -- where to give them the ball, how to give it to them coming off the screens. We'll be fine if we do it that way."

Collison's next chance to get the Mavs' righted will come in Saturday's home opener against the Charlotte Bobcats.

What better way for the UCLA ex to show that he can be just as efficient as Jason Kidd was as the Mavs' playmaker the past four years than to do it in front of the home crowd?

"I think we've got to bounce back and I think Saturday is a good way to bounce back," Collison said. "We have some time to get under our belt to understand each other more, to understand the plays more.

"And you've got to understand it's not easy playing with several new guys. It takes awhile to get used to."

Because of that, Carlisle wasn't going to blame Collison for the loss to the Jazz.

"We've got a long ways to go here," Carlisle said. "But the early signs are very good and we need [Collison] to be a guy that not only runs the offense, but scores and leads from the point guard position."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760