Practically speaking, that 33-point whipping the Dallas Mavericks took from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday might have been the best thing that’s happened to them.
It was a rock-bottom moment for the Mavs, as embarrassing as it was, considering it occurred at American Airlines Center.
But it might have helped galvanize the Mavs, who rebounded from that lackluster performance to hammer out a convincing 129-99 thrashing of the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
In retrospect, center Tyson Chandler said of the loss to the Cavs: “I think before that everybody was kind of skating on thin ice, not knowing which way to go and not wanting to step on toes and all that.”
To a man, the Mavs (42-25) knew they were much better than the way they performed against the Cavs.
“I wanted to see how guys were going to respond the following day,” Chandler said. “I think coach [Rick Carlisle] did an excellent job of pointing things out on film and correcting all the little necessary things, and I thought guys responded on the practice court.
“I talked to a couple of people before the game and I felt that we would come out with the right type of energy just because of the fire we displayed the following day in practice. You could tell guys were kind of fed up with the way things were going.”
After the loss to the Cavs, backup center Amar’e Stoudemire criticized teammates for not being professional enough in practice and shootarounds, and for not being the best they can be.
“We know what type of team we are, we know how good we can be,” Stoudemire said. “It’s just a matter of us actually showing that and putting this chemistry together.”
Stoudemire expressed the importance of beating one of the upper-echelon teams in the Western Conference.
“We’re playing teams that you may see in the playoffs,” Stoudemire said. “We want to compete. I think we competed [Friday].
“We saw those guys and we knew that we will probably face them one day this year, maybe in the postseason. We wanted to make sure we try to impose our will and try to get that win.”
The Mavs shot 60.7 percent from the field against the Clippers, made 16 of 28 3-point shots and won the rebounding battle 43-32. Now they’re hoping to sustain that level of play when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
“I thought overall the energy was good,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We were talking out there, we were trying to rotate for each other.
“And offensively that was probably as good as it has been in a long, long time with the shot-making, with moving the ball, with penetrating and getting in the lane and finding open guys.”
Even with one of their top reserves, Al-Farouq Aminu, not playing due to a sprained left shoulder, the Mavs still picked up 61 points from their bench against the Clippers.
Now with only 15 games remaining in the regular season, the Mavs hope to pick up against the Thunder where they left off against the Clippers.
“It was a big win for us because it was one that we needed to respond and show that we could respond and had the character to respond,” Chandler said.
“It’s that time of the year where you want to be playing your best basketball. I think it’s important that we sustain it throughout.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760