Saturday Mavs Donuts: Loss To Spurs In Quotes

Think back in recent Mavs history. Remember ‘StreakBusters'? Remember ‘top-five defense in the league'? That … was a while ago. If this was a measuring stick, the Spurs grabbed it and used it to thrash the good guys bloody, 97-91. Issues more characteristic of early-season breakdowns are everywhere, and with 13 games left time, is not on our side. Panic? No. Worry? Yes. Donuts? Naturally.

We'll do Saturday Morning Mavs Donuts with the invaluable help of staffer BJ Stahl and Mavs Quoteboard sponsor

DONUT 1: So, keep it simple. Why did the Spurs win this game?
"Starting the fourth we couldn't score … we go for almost six minutes or so before we scored. We'll have to look on tape and see what they were doing. The big thing is we were getting good looks. They just didn't go down." - Jason Kidd.

So it was the fourth quarter. Right?

DONUT 2: "It was a tough one at the beginning,'' Dirk said. "We were a step slow to everything. They were sitting on a 30-point loss for three days and they came out swinging, just like we expected. We weren't quite ready for it.''


We are happy to report that so many sharp Mavs fans showed up to the game supporting Dirk by wearing our TAKE THAT WIT CHEW shirt.

"How do I get one of those?'' Dirk asked me ... and my answer for him is the same as my answer to you: the Store!

Anyway, so ... ah. It was the first quarter!

DONUT 3: "Really, what killed us was penetration,'' Nowitzki continued. "They were living in the lane all night long."

Oh. It was the fourth quarter and the first quarter and everything in between. Including penetration, an old bugaboo around here that often gets blamed singularly on the centers but is in fact also about poor perimeter defense, confusion on stopping the pick-and-roll, and maybe even some bothersome lethargy tossed in.

"I think tonight was more about their team penetration,'' Brendan Haywood said. "Their penetration got them open shots, got them shots in the lane, offensive rebounds . . . And turnovers. That's what hurt us the most."

So in other words. … EVERYTHING.

DONUT 4: Nineteen turnovers, fellas?

This must get fixed for Golden State on Sunday. This must get fixed during the three free days that come before Thursday and Minny. ... Oh by the way: Wanna go to the game? Friend up our new Dallas Mavericks FISH Facebook Page, where we are about to give away a pair of Mavs tickets!

Check us out! Click that LIKE button and come on over!

So on the way to fixing things, let's go around the room:

*"You can't expect to turn it over 19 times for 25 points and be in a position to win. It's just too difficult." - Coach Rick Carlisle

*"We had too many careless turnovers. I got stripped two or three times and you've got to be stronger with the ball. I take responsibility for that because we had 19 and I had four of them so especially playing against them because they scrap and claw for the ball and you have to be stronger with the ball." - Jason Terry.

*"It seems like when the other team pressures us a little, we throw the ball all over the gym." -Dirk Nowitzki.

Here's what sticks in our craw about the sloppiness: With Shawn Marion having left after one (very effective) half, Carlisle went down the stretch with the highly unusual FOUR-PG Attack. Dirk, with four little fellas: Kidd, Jet, Roddy B and JJB.

Four guys with "point guard'' on their resumes. Playing together. The handles and the passing should've been at an incredible high.

It wasn't.

DONUT 5: About Shawn Marion's injury-truncated night . . .

"It was a freak play, where his wrist got knocked into Roddy's arm or something like that,'' Carlisle said. It was bothering him too much to come back, so that was a big loss.''

The Matrix was putting up numbers – as Jet points out, "It was (a) tremendous (loss) because he was 6-of-8 from the field, he was causing matchup problems and he was in the paint all night long laying the ball up. He's our best defender, so it had an impact on the game'' – but as much as that, he was a threat to slow Manu.

No Matrix? Too much Manu.

But we collected a late-night update on ‘Trix, as we visited with him over a Diet Coke in Uptown after the game. He didn't seem to be in any pain and didn't have any sort of brace on his wrist. He wore nothing more than a cotton wristband on his right wrist … so he's crossing his fingers.

And hopefully is able to do that with the fingers on both of his hands.

P.S.: We also visited with and gathered thoughts from a bunch of other big-brained thinkers on Friday night. I'm talkin' everybody from our FS Southwest colleague to the fascinating Rodney Anderson (the mortage expert, consumer advocate and author of the book 'Credit 911') to Spud Webb of Game Proven Executives, who still has some questions to answer about this:

I want answers, dang it!

DONUT 6: How about a Rodrigue Beaubois progress report?

"I really love his disposition right now,'' Rick said. "He's becoming one of our best perimeter defenders. He did a great job pressing up on Parker, and even Ginobili. The fouls he got were fouls where he was the aggressor. That is so many light years beyond where he was when he first got here."

We're buying what Rick is selling, though there are not numbers to back this up. Somebody on this team stopped Manu? Nah. He had 25. Somebody slowed Parker? Nah. He had 33.

But "disposition''? Hell, coming in reference to Roddy B, who has been accused of being "too cool for school,'' we'll take it.

And if you want to shudder on a number of levels …

DONUT 7: Guess what's on Kidd's mind if the owners lock out next season . . .

"This (season) could be it, because it would be hard to come back after a lockout,'' J-Kidd said in the DMNews. "I would probably move on and join the next chapter of what I would be doing in life.''

Now, this isn't "game-related.'' It's not like Kidd was saying this as he was dribbling the ball down the floor. But it is food for thought, on a number of levels. This is a league-wide concern, of course. But more immediately: As imperfect as J-Kidd might be as his advanced age … are you ready to lose him?

DONUT 8: More food for thought from Pop:

"Well, philosophies don't change this late in the year. Everybody is trying to improve what they do, but you're not going to change what you do."

Now, he was speaking specifically about Dallas' implementation of Roddy B. But is there a bigger picture here? Can Dallas change what it does? And what is it Dallas does?

Does Dallas "do'' defense?

DONUT 9: We say we are concerned. Not "panicked.'' Just "concerned.''

How about you, Big Wood?

"I'm not concerned, because I know we're a good team,'' he said. "We'll pull out of it. At the end of the day, these kind of things happen -- the Lakers had a bad stretch, Miami had a bad stretch, everybody had bad stretches. It's one of those things; you have to fight your way out of it and get through it as a team."

Haywood is not wrong. Spit happens. And Dallas is a 48-21 team, top three in the West.

But that's six straight losses against Western Conference playoff-seeded teams.

And more: Dallas lost to San Antonio on Dec. 30. There was a Jan. 4 win over Portland. There was a Jan. 19 win over the Lakers. That gives Dallas two wins in its last 11 tries against Western Conference playoff-seeded teams.

After the game, Jet said something about how this sort of loss isn't embarrassing, that it's the loss to the likes of Memphis that really bugs the "superior'' Mavs.

Careful there, Jet.

"This loss definitely hurts, but we've got to come to practice and work hard tomorrow,'' Terry added. Then Golden State (Sunday) is another opportunity to get this rhythm back and get that good vibe back and run off six or seven games in a row."

DONUT 10: How about the theory that Dallas' struggles might strengthen the team for the playoff road ahead?

"I like that we're being tested right now." -Coach Rick Carlisle

We don't.

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DONUT 12: Let's allow Dirk to put a bow on this thing.

"What do you want us to do? You can't be negative now," Nowitzki said. "We still have a month left in the season and we're trying to make a little run and take some momentum into the playoffs and go from there. But, this is too early to pack it in now."

"Pack it in''? No. Worry? Yes.

Using the Donuts to make some sense of it all? Painfully.

DONUT 13: Maybe if I croon some Sinatra to Emily Jones it'll all be OK?

Check out the Premium coverage and you'll see all three segments of our hoops version of "Regis & Kelly'' ... But I would've sworn the Sinatra part would've worked! Harrumph. I guess not.

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