Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has been the overseer of losses before. Oftentimes, he'll dismiss a bad effort over the course of an 82-game season by saying, "Flush It!'' ... the meaning being, "Let's move on.''
But you can only "flush'' so many of these things before the toilet gets clogged.
The Mavs, by virtue of Wednesday's 120-89 home loss to the sad-sack Sacramento Kings, are 4-17.
Somebody call a damn plumber.
The good folks involved in trying to make sure a Mavs game at the AAC is a show, the good folks trying to sell and market the Mavs based on fun, based on what this franchise once was and, God and the CBA willing, what this franchise can someday be again -- and they are good folks who I've known for years and years -- placed a toilet in the fourth row of the seats on this night. The purpose? An in-game sponsorship from a company called "Poo-Pourri,'' that, I guess, freshens up your toilet. Or something.
Hey, it's revenue and it's potty humor and can't we have some fun with it?
No. Not once the Mavs let a four-point halftime deficit turn into a blowout against a Sacto team that, while powered by the "beast'' that is DeMarcus Cousins, came into this game with just seven wins itself.
So did Carlisle issue a "Flush It!'' after this debacle?
The entirety of Carlisle's 30-second summation:
"I'm going to make a short statement and be on my way: That was a very, very, very disappointing performance. It starts with me; I’ve got to do a better job getting these guys ready to play, getting them ready to compete. The second half was inexcusable. The way we played – just the way we performed all around – everything from how we competed, decision-making. Shot-making comes and goes, but the competitive spirit has got to be there. We’re going to do better.”
And then the coach -- who had criticized his close-to-hapless club for an absence of effort in terms of rebounding in Monday's loss to Charlotte -- grabbed a stack of papers from the podium and marched off.
What's in those papers?
A way to deal with Boogie? Nah. I swear, in the 24 hours leading up to this tipoff, Rick heaped more praise, and did so more frequently, on Cousins, than he ever has on any opposing player during Carlisle's time in Dallas. Not Kobe, not LeBron, not Curry reached the almost obsession-level discussion that occurred here. And DeMarcus lived up to it, as he had 24 points and 14 rebounds and seven assists and a few laughs at the idea he'd like to leave the Kings for a team like the Mavs.
A way to deal with all the non-Boogies? Nah. In this final game of a six-game roadie for Sacto, Rudy Gay scored 19. Darren Collison scored 19 points. Garrett Temple made all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with 17 points. Kosta Koufos had six of his eight points during the 11-0 run to start the second half that turned this game into a joke.
Deron Williams had 20 points for Dallas, but Harrison Barnes had 11 points on just 5-of-16 shooting and Wesley Matthews disappeared in the second half, scoring none them to finish with 16. What Dallas did rack up? Turnovers, season-high 23 of them. Oh, and a closed team meeting after the game, and you can expect ensuing acts of meaningless desperation like this, too.
The game, Barnes said, "Was a disservice to us as teammates, it was a disservice to the coaching staff who put in work and it was a disservice to the fans that came here tonight."
I have written before in this space that "tanking'' isn't funny when you're actually living through it and that "Organic Tanking'' isn't fun until you reap the hoped-for benefits from it. So there is no "flushing'' of the realities of where the Mavericks are right now. There are "fun'' efforts from the marketing department and there are "fun'' efforts from the sales department but what is happening at the AAC is about an unfortunate, un-flushable truth that just stubbornly ... floats there.