Mavs lose sixth straight to finish worst December since 1999

DALLAS -- With yet another embarrassing loss by 20-plus points Sunday night at American Airlines Center, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle finally vented his frustrations.

Carlisle was extremely upset and animated after the San Antonio Spurs strolled into the Mavs' arena and put another whipping on Dallas, 111-86, in front of a sellout crowd of 19,928.

It was the ninth loss in 10 games for the Mavs, along with their sixth straight loss. It also was just the third time since Mark Cuban bought the Mavs on Jan. 4, 2000, that they've had a six-game losing streak.

And Carlisle -- the coach during two of those six-game losing streaks -- wasn't pleased.

"In the last week, I had to literally scream in the face of two guys in practices and shootarounds to get the point across; and I will do that, and I will continue to do that," Carlisle said. "If I have to start suspending guys for not doing things that they're supposed to be doing on the court, I'll do it.

"Mark and I will get into it about that."

Carlisle said there's enough blame to go around after the Mavs suffered their eighth loss of the season by 20 points or more to drop to 12-19 in their final game of 2012.

"You can look at a lot of different scenarios and point at a lot of different situations, but at the end of the day this is very frustrating for all of us," said Shawn Marion, who had two points and seven rebounds. "This hurts."

The Mavs never led against a Spurs team that beat them by 38 points on Dec. 23 in San Antonio.

"We've got a lot of frustrations from the bottom to the top -- from the top on down," said Elton Brand, who contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. "[Carlisle is] the leader, and this is not his fault.

" ... We're out there [on the court]; we need to get this done; we need to find a way."

The Mavs fell behind 20-6 midway through the first period but managed to get within 27-22 by the time the quarter ended. The Spurs, who got 21 points and nine assists from Tony Parker, led 57-45 at the half and 82-70 going into the final period.

A bucket by Parker and a 3-pointer by Stephen Jackson boosted the Spurs' lead to 96-80 with 5:32 left in the game.

The Mavs' 5-10 record in December is their worst since they finished December 1999 at 4-10, a few days before Cuban purchased the franchise from Ross Perot Jr.

In Sunday's game, the Mavs shot 40 percent from the field and only 1 of 16 from 3-point territory, but they only committed 11 turnovers while outrebounding the Spurs 46-44. But those were just consolation stats on a night that was very, very dreadful.

"We're doing what we're supposed to do in practice; we're having some good practices," said point guard Darren Collison, who had 18 points and eight assists. "The coaches are pretty much telling us what we need to do, but for some reason it's not carrying over to the games."

"This is painful, and it really hurts, especially this string of games that we're losing."

Carlisle, who used his 14th different starting lineup Sunday, didn't leave the court just questioning his team's chemistry.

"I think right now you have to question everything," Carlisle said. "I'm still going to stay on record saying that I believe in the group; I like the guys.

"But we all have got to do better, and it starts with me."

Marion believes the Mavs have to look in the mirror and just get mad at what has happened to this team.

"We've got to get some dog in us, we've got to get some fight in us right now," Marion said. "At times we look good and it's going good, and at times it's not.

" ... We've got to find a way to make this happen and get it going, because this [stuff] sucks."

Dirk Nowitzki came off the bench again Sunday and contributed eight points and five rebounds in 23 minutes. But he's not sure if Carlisle's idea of suspending players for lack of effort is the answer.

"That's a little aggressive," Nowitzki said. "Number one, it starts with the players.

"I think I've said numerous times the last couple of games we're not as talented as some of the top teams. I'm not sure if that helps if he starts suspending people left and right."

Over the last 11 days, the Mavs have lost to Miami, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Denver and twice to the Spurs. Carlisle has run out of making excuses for the losses.

"Somehow things have got to change, and it can't just be about that it's a tough schedule," Carlisle said. "This is a stretch that is unprecedented, really.

"It's bad. We've got to fix it, and it starts with me. I'm taking the blame for it."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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