From a mental standpoint, the Dallas Mavericks are not in a happy place right now.
“We’re definitely not happy, we’re frustrated, we’re angry,” forward Chandler Parsons said after Thursday’s practice. “But we’re definitely staying positive.”
After Wednesday’s 102-96 loss to Detroit, the Mavericks are on edge because they’re riding a four-game losing streak for the first time in nearly 14 months. And they’re also 0-2 during this hectic nine-game stretch where every team they’ll face has a record above .500.
But coach Rick Carlisle believes that the setbacks that have crippled his team can be overcome with some tinkering, starting with Saturday’s home game at 1 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers.
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“I think there’s a level of disappointment, of course,” Carlisle said. “I think there’s some anger that’s got to manifest the right way on Saturday. Today my point to them was to show them some things that showed how close we are to winning. And the little things that we need to do to get over the top to get there.”
We’re too good of a team and we worked too hard to keep having struggles like this.
Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons
The Mavericks are 4-10 in games decided by three points or fewer. Carlisle knows if they would have just split those 10 losses, they would be 38-27 and talking about vying for the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference.
Instead, the Mavericks are 33-32 and in the seventh spot in the West Conference, only one-half ahead of Houston (32-32). But Dallas still has a good shot at the playoffs because they lead ninth-seeded Utah (29-35) by 3 1/2 games.
Still, the Mavericks have 17 games left to get on a hot streak and turn the situation around.
It’s just we got to play better.
“I think the biggest thing right now for us is just to stay positive, stick with one another and keep believing in one another and stay confident,” Parsons said. “We’re too good of a team and we worked too hard to keep having struggles like this.”
Despite those struggles, Parsons said there have been no players-only meetings.
“... But we’re constantly in communications, we’re constantly talking,” Parsons said. “I know a lot of guys are coming back at night getting extra shots in.
“Guys are still down there shooting right now, coming early. So guys are putting in the work, guys are talking. It’s just we got to play better.”
The Mavericks have put behind a rather bizarre situation with referee David Jones.
In a strange twist during Wednesday’s 102-96 loss to the Detroit Pistons, Carlisle said Jones walked into the Mavs’ huddle during a timeout with 7:33 left in the third quarter and inexplicably baited point guard Deron Williams, and then whistled the 11-year veteran for a technical foul.
After the game, Carlisle said of the incident: “For the first time in [his] 33-year NBA career, I saw a referee make a point of going out of his way and walking into our huddle and baiting one of our guys into getting a technical. I’ve never seen anything like that in my years. I don’t see how that can ever be excusable. So there are a lot of things happening right now and we’ve got to rise above them.”
I made a decision about 10 years into my career that I wasn’t going to comment about officials.
Mavericks guard Deron Williams, so was called for a technical foul Wednesday
Before meeting with the media Thursday, Carlisle texted a statement to some media members, which said: “With the league’s permission, referee David Jones contacted me today to apologize for the situation that developed with Deron Williams last night. I accepted his apology and told him that I now consider this matter in the past.”
When he finally met with the media, Carlisle was asked if the league will take any action against him for criticizing Jones. “I released my statement and I have no further statement at this time on that matter,” Carlisle said.
This isn’t the first run-in Jones has had with Williams. While he played for the Brooklyn Nets in 2013, Williams was ejected from a game against the Houston Rockets by Jones for arguing a call.
After Wednesday’s game, Williams refused comment about the technical he received from Jones. Williams said: “I made a decision about 10 years into my career that I wasn’t going to comment about officials,” he said.
However, considering what transpired and the apology by Jones, the NBA has rescinded the technical against Williams.