Tellingly Important Sunday Mavs Donuts

This may be the most tellingly important Mavs Quoteboard of the season. The 94-89 loss Saturday at Memphis is critical. What your Mavs are saying about it - and about themselves - is revealing. Forget Memphis, as the Mavs have slipped to the basement of West contenders. There's not much to 'enjoy' in here; but there's lots to learn from. Donuts:

DONUT 1: Neverending Story ...

For the Dallas Mavericks, the frustration never ends. Thanks to a putrid first quarter, the good guys spent the entire night playing catch-up. It isn't that the game was totally out of reach. But toss 17 turnovers and 11 more made Memphis free throws into the stew and there's your ballgame. To maintain a hope -- however slender -- of moving into the top four, the Mavs needed a win.
That didn't happen; Memphis wins it 94-89.

Right now the defending champions are closer to the playoff basement than its penthouse. Here's The Race To The West Playoffs … updated daily to keep y'all posted on where the Mavs stand in comparison to the rest.

A very telling Mavs Quoteboard from Memphis ...

DONUT 2: First quarter, MEM 29, DAL 10 -- huh? ...

"It happens when one team is struggling, the other team made shots, it can go quick. We were down 20 in a heartbeat. Sometimes that's not a bad thing to be down 20 early and you still have a lot of time to fight back and that's what we did. I'm proud of the guys how we battled, but it wasn't enough." -Dirk Nowitzki

"'Tough' isn't the word. Oh man, it's just frustrating in all aspects. We dug ourselves a very big hole, but I think we were playing pretty good defense at first. It was just that we couldn't hit any shots." -Shawn Marion

"The first quarter we had our share of good shots, they didn't go down. At one point we were shooting 10 percent. But the guys kept battling, we defended and rebounded the whole game." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"We came out with a fast tempo, getting baskets and stopping them. They missed a lot of shots in the beginning. It was just coming out and playing our game, making defensive stops and getting out in transition." -Zach Randolph

DONUT 3: About that tiebreaker (captured by the Grizz, 2-1)...

"It was huge. We're three up on them now in the loss column and with the tiebreaker it's more like four. It's going to be a tight race, but we have to keep winning." -Coach Lionel Hollins

DONUT 4: Turnovers (including more in-the-clutch ill-advised outlet passes from Dirk) ...

"We still had some chances. Turnovers are hurting us lately. I had two right there in the last minutes. That's tough." - Dirk Nowitzki

"We made a game of it, but the turnovers just killed us. That's how they were able to capitalize, and that's how they got the win." -Shawn Marion

"Turnovers definitely cost us. The turnovers, once again tonight, were our demise." - Jason Terry

DONUT 5: No such thing as moral victories, except in how they help one move on from disappointments ...

"We had a lot of fighters out there tonight. Going down the stretch here, that's what it's going to be about." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"We have to take our hats off to ourselves; we played hard, we got back into the game and we had an opportunity to win." -Brandan Wright

"We talked about it. We were still right there even though it wasn't pretty. We competed, played hard and hung around." -Dirk Nowitzki

"Everything that could go wrong went wrong, but we hung in there and fought back." -Shawn Marion

DONUT 6: Didn't you used to be Gilbert Arenas? On "Agent Zero" and his 14 points ...

"Gilbert hitting the threes has been huge. He has brought in a new spirit for our guys, and it is contagious. The effort has been outstanding from Gilbert. Guys who've been in the league know where to be. They know the shortcuts and they can recognize the sets other teams are running." -Coach Lionel Hollins

"Especially in practice, he'll go like 20 for 20. So you don't want to go against him when he's shooting well." -Mike Conley

"Gilbert brings a lot to the table. Not just his play, but his experience." -Rudy Gay

DONUT 7: Says it all, eh? ...

"No Lamar questions tonight." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"I'm done talking about that." -Dirk Nowitzki on Lamar Odom.

DONUT 8: Growing awfully fond of the young man -- on Brandan Wright and his 16-point 6-rebound evening ...

"He's been productive the whole year. I can probably count on one hand the number of games where he hasn't had some kind of positive impact ... He's fast, above the rim and a great runner, great finisher, and able to knife through crevices and makes uncanny plays. When he's overmatched physically, he's done a great job of being resourceful defensively, using his quickness to front and be active." -Coach Rick Carlisle

"It's a process. I'm just getting better and better as the season goes on. "You don't want to regress. But Coach has a lot of confidence in me." -Brandan Wright

DONUT 9: He'd have that shot back; so would we ...

"I had a 3 at the top of the key to cut it to two with like three minutes to go. That would have been a nice shot." -Dirk Nowitzki

DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...

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DONUT 11: Quick Kidd update ...

"I'm not going to get into Kidd's status because I don't have an updated report on it. He's doing better, but I'm not going to get into a timetable on it." -Coach Rick Carlisle

(Also, Ian's expected back on Tuesday. He's been out with his fiancee, welcoming their baby girl. Congratulations!)

DONUT 12: Onward and upward ...

"We've all got to play well, I think that's obvious if we want to do something to make the playoffs or do some damage in the playoffs. We all have to play at a high level. That's what we did last year, we picked up some momentum, had everybody play well, defense and rebound. On offense, everybody shared the ball and played well together. That's the only way we're going to be able to do it this year. It's not going to be one guy, it's not going to be two guys. If we want to win, ultimately we've go to do it together and have everyone play at a high level. That's the only way." -Dirk Nowitzki

DONUT 13: The Final Word ...

"The only thing we control is us. We have to win the games. This is two games now that the opportunity was there. And it's gone now." -Jason Terry

h/t Boards, DMNews, ESPN and The 75-Member Staff

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