DONUT 1: The emotional drain of seeing Dirk Nowitzki in a suit.
It was only a decade ago that The UberMan – then actually The UberBoy – didn't even own a suit … and in preparation for the playoffs, teammate Michael Finley took him out and bought him one.
So that was a weird sight on Tuesday. Dirk on the end of the bench, yukking it up with Roddy B and DoJo – lots of talent down there in street clothes, eh? – wearing a sharp gray suit with a tie and a pocket square and everything.
(I think we can assume that Jessica O helped dress him.)
Dirk's got the sprained knee. He's hopeful about trying to play Thursday at the AAC against the hated Spurs. We'll keep you updates … and Mavs coach Rick Carlisle will try to keep his team buoyed either way.
"That would be making excuses, and I don't think that's appropriate," Carlisle said of blaming this loss on Dirk's pocket square … er, absence. "We just weren't good enough."
DONUT 2: Dwane Casey is a genius.
Nah. It's not like having coach Rick Carlisle return from minor knee-surgery recovery (he missed the OKC game) had some malevolent effect.
The Casey experience will end up being a positive, for this club and for him. As Carlisle said, Dwane oughta be a head coach and because he presently is not, Dallas is taking advantage of the NBA's mistake.
I can't believe he's not a head coach in this league, but everyone's loss is our gain," Carlisle said. "Everyone that's passed him up probably wishes that they would have hired him. He does a great job for us and he'll be back doing that at some point."
Again, we're all in agreement on that.
But if you really take this excuse/reason seriously, you are an idiot.
I still love you and your passion. But you're an idiot.
DONUT 3: I jinxed everything.
I insisted following the win in OKC that Dallas was moving to the point of being "screw-up-proof.''
I'm also an idiot.
DONUT 4: DB.com Night at the Mavs jinxed everything.
Well, we were almost 300 strong and we had fun. I didn't get to go hang in the Old No. 7 Club before tipoff with y'all because I was outside in the rain getting things finagled. But I'm told that Ro Blackman came by … that a bunch of the Mavs ManiAACs helped us party .. that Mike Bacsik and Michael Dugat of the 75-Member Staff held court … and that a bunch of you singletons flirted with my sister.
A hearty thanks to everybody for putting up with the rain and the adjustments we had to make … special thanks, too, to the boys at Signs Etc and DB.com Store, Ryan Robertson of MavCowTickets, and of course, fine sponsors like iDealGolfer.com.
DONUT 5: They really are – one night in OKC notwithstanding – "Nowitzki & The Dirkettes.''
The Raptors came in as a 10-win team. They allow 105 points per game. Surely there were cracks for Mavs production to seep through. …
But no. In scoring 76 points, Dallas managed its lowest production of the season. The circumstances were such that Brian Cardinal climbed out of his sick bed and played 21 minutes, contributing eight points and seven rebounds and if we awarded a "Dirkie'' for losses, "The Janitor'' might just be that Player of the Game.
Funny thing about the math here, though. Dallas, which can usually be counted on to reach 100, scored 76 without Dirk. … thereby missing the 24 points he figured to score had he played … which would've pushed the Mavs to 100 and given them a lopsided win instead of an embarrassing loss.
Is it really all that simple?
DONUT 6: They tried TOO hard.
Said Carlisle: "I thought we were in too much of a 'try-and-make-things-happen' mode and not enough trusting the team and the system and really working together."
Hey, it's a theory.
There was certainly an absence of first-quarter "flow,'' with the Mavericks missing 16 of 20 shots, falling behind by 12, and scoring just 13.
In fact, those 13 points tied a season low. So did the seven turnovers in the quarer. And the four made FGs, the 20-percent shooting and the one assist are all new low-water marks in the season.
Of course, it's not like things really improved all that much as the game went on. The offensive ineptitude extended through the game and to the arc, where the Mavericks hit just five of 22 3-point tries.
But by the numbers, you really cannot pin the offensive blame solely on the Marion/Caron combo. Those two were terrific in tandem on the wings in the OKC, and here, The Matrix shot 5-of-10 for 12 points and Tuff Juice was 7-of-16 for 15 points.
So – except for maybe wishing that Caron (playing with a couple of crunched-up digits) would've chosen this night to be a 30-point Batman -- let's try somewhere else.
DONUT 8: The Due Theory.
I'm not much of a believer in this. There is really no automatic reason for the coin to come up "heads'' on this flip, you know?
Back in the olden days, when I managed a men's competitive softball team, guys who were batting, say, .350 (bad for slow-pitch softball) would wonder why I had them so low in the order.
"Because you're hitting .350,'' I'd say.
"But I'm due!'' they'd counter.
"No,'' I'd say. "Ken Knight played minor-league baseball. He's been a .620 hitter for us every year for five years. When he's hitting .350, HE'S due. But you ALWAYS hit .350. You aren't DUE to do better. You MIGHT do better. But you aren't DUE to do so.''
That's Toronto. They aren't good enough to be due. They'd won 10 games all year.In 10 years, they hadn't won once in Dallas.
Nevertheless, it is a commonly-held theory, as Marion explained.
"Sometimes,'' Marion theorized, "it's Christmas for the other team.''
DONUT 9: The Wounded Tiger Theory.
This is a sports cliché … wait. It's not a "cliché'' in the sense that it is an empty collection of words. Let's make this a "classic sports take,'' and one that's become a chestnut of games ever since ex-Mavs coach Dick Motta purportedly coined it.
You think the Mavs were wounded because Dirk was wearing a fuschia pocket square?
The Raptors entered without top scorer Andrea Bargnani, top rebounder Reggie Evans, starter Sonny Weems, starter Jose Calderon and Peja Stojakovic. Then the game started, and in the third quarter, Kleiza got ejected. Then in the fourth quarter,starter Jerryd Bayless hobbled off with an apparent ankle problem. Oh, and starter Amir Johnson – Toronto's tallest available first-teamer at 6-9 – battled through back problems to play.
The wounded tiger clawed its way out of a corner here.
DONUT 10: Issues with this being the second night of a b2b.
Going in, the Mavs were 5-0 on the back end of back-to-backs (and 5-1 on the front).
So this doesn't seem valid … physically tired or emotionally drained or whatever … given the recent history in these situations.
Unless, that is, you actually watched the game.
"I definitely felt like we were a little lax, a little slow getting back, slow to loose balls," conceded Tyson Chandler, and you know what? Even T.Y.'s inspiration wasn't very inspired, as he contributed just three points and six rebounds against the smallish Raptors.
DONUT 11: The Steiny-Mo Curse.
On Tuesday, Dallas moved to the No. 1 spot on Marc Stein's ESPN Power Rankings.
The last time the Mavs were ranked first in Mr. Stein's rankings, earlier this year, they immediately lost a game.
Steiny-Mo, appreciate the love. But please leave the Mavs at No. 2. So they try harder.
DONUT 12: This was a trap game.
How do the Mavs fare against teams they are "ready for''? Dallas' 13 victories against winning teams leads the NBA. How would they handle a situation unlike that one? They would talk about it openly before the game, for starters …
"I see it as a game you just have to approach the right way," Rick said when asked about the "trap'' thing.
So they knew! They knew … and they let it happen anyway.
"These are the dangerous teams,'' Marion said. "These are the teams that are the hardest to get up for.''
Part of the "trap'' issue is that you overlook a subpar opponent because you are gazing ahead, to the horizon, where a more fearsome task awaits.
So Dallas was looking ahead to Thursday and San Antonio … focusing on the Spurs.
And now all the Mavs have to do to semi-justify that excuse is to not play like this again on Thursday.