SAN ANTONIO – Well, for the optimists out there, at least the Dallas Mavericks won the first quarter.
But that’s about all the Mavs won Sunday night as they were totally embarrassed by the San Antonio Spurs, losing 112-83 before a sellout crowd of 18,418 at AT&T Center.
It was a horrific night by the Mavs, who are 23-19 overall and have lost four of their last six games.
Indeed, what the Spurs did to Dallas, it must have taken the Mavs’ breath away. This was more or less like a fight that wasn’t a fair fight, because one team brought more protection to the fight than the other.
"They’re smart, they’re long, they don’t foul,’’ said forward Dirk Nowitzki, who contributed just four points on 2-of-10 shooting. "They contest shots, they try to take away 3-point shots, they’ve got length on the perimeter as well as in the paint, and they rebound the ball.’’
The Spurs just overwhelmed the Mavs with a combination of aggressive defense and shot-making on offense. And they showed the Mavs why they have won 33 straight home games – they’re 24-0 at home this season – dating back to last March.
"We’ve got to credit these guys, credit the Spurs,’’ shooting guard Wesley Matthews said. "Obviously they’re undefeated at home for a reason.
"They’re a great team and they play hard every single possession.’’
It was as if the Spurs were playing chess and the Mavs were in some backyard playing marbles.
"As players I don’t think that we did the little things that you need to d against a championship pedigree team,’’ Matthews said. "We didn’t set up our man the best, but when we did it resulted in good things.
"That’s why I said we can go ar far as we want to take it.’’
The Mavs actually led 16-14 after a first quarter that was as ugly as any played in the history of the NBA. After that, it was all Spurs all the time.
San Antonio outscored the Mavs 32-20 in the second quarter and 32-20 in the third quarter as Dallas mentally and physically couldn’t keep pace with the home team.
"San Antonio goes hard and they can make you look bad,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "We got beat bad.
"That’s the name of that tune.’’
Things were so bad for the Mavs that coach Rick Carlisle decided not to hang around until the game ended.
Referee Sean Corbin tagged Carlisle with a technical foul with 11:17 remaining in the game. By the time Carlisle walked on the court and started clapping his hands, Corbin tagged him with another technical and automatic ejection from the game
But the Spurs have this innate way of preventing teams from getting in their groove. They also know how to impose their will on an opponent.
That all happened Sunday as the Mavs shot a season-low 35.8 percent from the field while suffering their worst loss of the season.
""We had a very poor second quarter and the third wasn’t much better,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. "Disappointing night, and we’ve got to play better.
"I thought the frustration tonight is there were some mistakes, but everybody’s trying to do the right thing. In terms of the effort, I’ve got to look at the film.’’
That frustration boiled over when Carlisle was whistled for his two technical fouls. In other words, the Mavs just looked out of sorts all night as simple plays was akin to a player trying to figure out Calculus.
But the Mavs don’t have much time to linger and stew about the worst beat down of the season. Not with the Boston Celtics invading American Airlines Center on Monday at 7 p.m.
Unfortunately against the Spurs, the Mavs tried everything in the book – but to no avail.
"The second quarter we had some mistakes that really took the air out of our game, and we had a chance to recover and we didn’t,’’ Carlisle said. "They’re a great, so they made it hard, and there are things we’ve got to do better.
"We don’t have much time to lick our wounds. We got to play a hot team (Monday in the Celtics) whose rested and waiting for us.’’
Dwain Price can be heard every Wednesday from 3-4 p.m. on dfwiradio.com