7th OT loss has Dallas Mavericks scraping rock bottom

DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks have lost a lot of games this season.

But coach Rick Carlisle said Saturday's 99-96 overtime loss to the New Orleans Hornets made him feel as though his team hit rock bottom.

It was the Mavs' 11th loss in their past 13 games and dropped their record to 13-21. Five of those losses during that period came in overtime.

In fact, the Mavs have lost seven overtime games this season and an NBA-record tying 10 consecutive overtime losses dating to last season.

But to lose to the Hornets, who entered Saturday's game at American Airlines Center with the second-worst record in the NBA and losers in 14 of their previous games, hit the Mavs hard.

"We need to get a win," said Elton Brand, who had 12 points and five blocks. "We're right there, we're right there, and then we do a bonehead play defensively or offensively. It's like we're sabotaging ourselves. We have to find a way to do better ... so it does feel like rock bottom."

Asked if the loss felt like rock bottom to him, forward Shawn Marion said: "It feels like a lot of things. There's no way to really explain it more than that. Every loss hurts, but it seems like we just can't win."

Owner Mark Cuban, back from a family vacation in the Cayman Islands, took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the officiating following the loss. Cuban tweeted: "Im sorry NBA fans. Ive tried for 13 yrs to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably. Any Suggestions? I need help."

The Mavs could have used a lot of help Saturday. The Hornets made more meaningful clutch plays than the Mavs, which is why New Orleans went home with an 8-25 record and the Mavs questioning themselves and their inability to execute in the clutch.

"I still believe in the team and I like the guys," Carlisle said. "This is just a tough time and it's important that everybody sticks together, and we've got to fight through it."

The Mavs, who led earlier by 11 points, could have won the game in regulation. But Dirk Nowitzki, who made his first start of the season in his seventh game since returning from right knee surgery, missed one of two free throws, leaving the game tied at 89-89 with 18.5 seconds left in regulation.

Then once the overtime period started, it was as if all those ugly memories of overtimes past started resurfacing in the Mavs' minds.

Eric Gordon hit the game-winner for the Hornets with 4.7 seconds left when he scored from 17 feet on a pump-fake jumper, and was fouled by Darren Collison. Gordon completed the three-point play, and Vince Carter's 3-pointer from the corner misfired at the buzzer.

Marion, who had eight points and nine rebounds, said this is a low-point for him since he arrived in Dallas in 2009.

"We always put ourselves in position to be better than .500 and in playoff contention," Marion said. "We're not in playoff contention right now. If the playoffs started right now, we're at home looking at everybody's [butts] on TV. It ain't over until the fat lady sings, but we've got to stay optimistic and positive and keep trying to make strides."

Nowitzki, who had 20 points and six rebounds in 34 minutes, said: "It really should not have come down to a close game tonight. We had our chances, but it should have never have gotten to overtime. I've got to make that free throw in regulation and maybe it doesn't go to overtime."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

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