In the case of the Dallas Mavericks, there is very little time for reflection on Friday's 106-82 loss at Miami, an inconspicuous way to ring in the New Year. And while the game was bad, the timing is, relatively, good.
"That’s the beautiful thing about the NBA,’’ said Deron Williams, who returned to the lineup after a 10-day stint nursing a hamstring injury. "We get right back at it. So we’ve got to take care of ourselves, get some rest and be ready to go (Saturday).’’
An older team looking forward to the second night of a B-2-B? That's odd ... but a trio of factors lead to the oddity:
1) Tonight's game is at home, with the Pelicans in for a visit. Dallas recently swept a three-game homestand at the AAC.
2) The Pelicans are woeful, in disarray from top to bottom with their 10-22 record -- though Dallas, despite its 19-14 mark, obviously can't overlook New Orleans as they handed the Mavs a 120-105 loss earlier this season.
3) While there is certainly a desire to improve on that flop in Miami, there isn't any time for wallowing in pity, let alone overreaction on all the things that went wrong ... starting with the start, which saw Dallas fall behind by a 22-10 score.
That's the fewest points Dallas has scored in a quarter since April 2012 at Chicago.
"We couldn’t make a run, push it to 10,’’ said Nowitzki, who was just 4-of-14 for 11 points. "Every time we got a little momentum we either made a mistake on the other end, or they made a big shot. We just never could get it to 10 or to where we felt like we still had a shot.’’
The Mavs still looked like they had no shot by halftime, when they were down 58-45, and Dirk is exactly right: Miami never allowed the Mavs to get closer than 11 points the rest of the game.
Dallas also had "no shot'' in another sense: Ball movement was slow. Execution was sloppy. And as a result, the Mavs shot just 36.4 percent (while allowing Miami to shoot 56 percent while also winning the battle of the boards, 50-40.) And guess which farm-animal chestnut coach Rick Carlisle pulled out to explain that failure?
"We just lost a little bit of our edge,” added Carlisle. “We’re disappointed, but we’ve got to get the wheels on the wagon, because there’s not much time to rest. ... But we’ve got to flush it.''
For Mavs fans, and maybe some folks in the organization, the Heat remain a "rival'' largely due to the skewed results of the 2006 NBA Finals, avenged, of course, in the 2011 Finals. But this is a largely different bunch, especially once the hate-able Dwyane Wade failed to start (but did play) due to illness. Young-reclamation project center Hassan Whiteside keyed the attack for the 19-13 Heat as he finished with 25 points and 19 rebounds. Chris Bosh scored 16 points, Goran Dragic had 15 points and seven assists and old friend Gerald Green added 19 off the bench ... and Dallas had answers for none of them.
So the four-game win streak has ended in a sobering manner (pun intended, because yeah, the Mavs spent New Year's Eve off in Miami, with an opportunity for everybody to strut around like Zoolander). Now Dallas tries to build another streak starting tonight, with decisions to make in the backcourt, as in Miami Devin Harris (back spasms) exited, hot J.J. Barea remained with the first team (but scored just six points) and erstwhile starter Deron (20 minutes, nine points, 3-of-9 shooting, five assists) is working his way back in as a major contributor.
And here comes New Orleans (GameThread here on DB.com Boards), led by young superstar Anthony Davis but sporting a terrible road record of 3-15 to go with an all-time mark in Dallas of 2-22 against a Mavs team trying to win a sixth straight at the AAC.
"In this league,'' Dirk said of the "beauty'' of something so ugly, "you've got to have a short memory.''