DALLAS — Over the weekend, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said his team was able to win when it “quit doing certifiably insane things with the ball.”
On Monday, the Mavs fell back to .500 again due to a 105-101 OT loss to the visiting Warriors in which the scoring heroics of O.J. Mayo were not enough to overcome Golden State’s Stephen Curry and a 62-43 rebounding deficit that Carlisle said is the centerpiece of Dallas’ struggles.
“Nobody’s focusing on rebounding,” said the coach of the 6-6 Mavs. “That’s the whole game. That’s the root of our problems. You could focus on the end of the game, who shot it, whether it went in. But it’s possession of the ball (on rebounds) that’s hurting us.”
What’s the definition of Mavs Insanity? Doing the same “certifiably insane things” over and over again and expecting a different result?
Dallas got results when Mayo had the ball late. He scored all of his team’s 11 points in the OT and had 18 of his 27 in the fourth and fifth periods. It’s regrettable that he didn’t get the final shot of regulation, the Mavs instead relying on Vince Carter to try a fadeaway despite a hamstring problem that moments earlier caused him to exit to the locker room. It’s also regrettable that Dallas had no defensive answer for Curry, who had 20 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
“Stephen Curry didn’t outplay one player,” Mayo said, “he outplayed the Dallas Mavericks.”
Curry did indeed outscore the Mavs; Chris Kaman with 18 points and 17 rebounds and Troy Murphy with 12 points were the only other Mavs to join Mayo in double figures. Meanwhile, Dallas — playing its third game in four nights — committed a handful of boneheaded errors ranging from failure to safely inbound the ball after a made basket to point guard Darren Collison committing five turnovers while botching simple entry passes. And as has so often been the case, the Mavs’ errors created a massive deficit; the Mavs have been behind by double digits in all six of their losses.
And it all could’ve been avoided with one rebound here or one rebound there.
It is an old coaching adage, a motivational tool, that preteen basketball players have ringing in their ears: “Everybody get one more rebound.” Yet this Dallas team is taking it the other direction as everybody seems to be getting one less rebound. Specific culprits? Elton Brand is a 9.4-rebounds-per-game guy career but grabbed four here. Brandan Wright is a 6-11 jumping jack but grabbed just one in his four minutes. And for the first time in his fine career, Shawn Marion failed to grab more than one rebound in a game in which he played at least 33 minutes.
“I really don’t know,” said Marion when asked to diagnose the illness. “I take full responsibility on myself not getting at least 10.”
No, Shawn. Not “10.” One more for each guy. That would’ve been the difference. That would’ve been enough to overcome Warriors forwards Harrison Barnes and David Lee combining for 31 boards. That would’ve been enough to disguise a series of ills highlighted by allowing a season-high 62 opponents’ rebounds. That would’ve been enough to allow Dallas a more healthy survival of the absence of Dirk Nowitzki, who continues to rehab his knee in anticipation of a return (and will be addressing the media with an update after Tuesday’s practice).
“We’ve got to keep studying and keep working,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to get five guys in there (rebounding) every single time.”
Five guys. Each getting one more rebound. And then their backups, each getting one more of their own.
Anything less will continue to drive Mavs watchers certifiably insane.