Preview: Mavs try to avoid winless road sweep in Minneapolis
Earl K. Sneed reports from Minneapolis, where the Dallas Mavericks will try to ruin what's expected to be the season debut for Ricky Rubio while attempting to avoid a winless three-game road trip.
Preview: Mavericks (11-12) at Timberwolves (11-9)
Mavs try to avoid winless road sweep in Minneapolis
Limping to a 95-74 loss to a Toronto Raptors team that had fallen in six straight and 12 of its previous 13 games, the Mavericks (11-12) shot just 39.1 percent and lacked consistency on the offensive end all night while suffering a fifth defeat this season by at least 20 points.
To add insult to injury, the Mavs also finished the night 0-for-13 from behind the 3-point line, ending their NBA record streak of 1,108 straight games with at least one make from behind the arc, which began on Feb. 27, 1999.
“We played poorly and they played great. I don’t know how else to sum it up. It’s as simple as that,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle admitted.
“I thought they played a great game all around," he continued. "Everything they did, I thought it was an extremely well-coached game by them and we didn’t match what they put on the floor. Simple as that.”
The Mavs continued to show an inability to take care of the ball as well, committing 17 turnovers for 26 Toronto points in the loss. That comes just one game after a season-worst 28 turnovers that led to 34 points for Boston in Wednesday's 117-115 double-overtime loss.
“They wanted it a little bit more than we did and I think they created the pace they wanted and got us all out of whack,” eight-time Vince Carter Carter said after a 1-of-8 night against his former team.
“We’ve got to look at what they took away from us and make sure we have some counters next time,” leading scorer O.J. Mayo added after following up a career-worst nine turnovers in Boston with six more giveaways in Toronto.
Mayo also adds that the Mavs will need to increase their energy level if they are to salvage their three-game road trip by avenging a 90-82 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 12.
Both the Mavs and Timberwolves (11-9) enter Saturday's contest on the second night of a back-to-back, after Minnesota reeled of its third straight win with Friday's 113-102 victory in New Orleans. And after losing to the Timberwolves last month without All-Star big man Kevin Love in the lineup due to a broken hand, the Mavericks will have their hands full with the league's second-leading rebounder and his 13.7 boards a game.
To make matters even more complicated for the Mavericks, the Wolves are also expected to welcome back second-year stud Ricky Rubio for his season debut Saturday night, after the pass-first point guard battled through torn ligaments in his left knee suffered last March. And with the Mavs trying to avoid a three-game sweep on their road trip while still awaiting the return of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (right knee surgery), their energy level will have to be high in order to return home with a much-needed road win under their belts.
“We’ve got to be better. That’s how we win ballgames — energy and effort. That’s our identity," Mayo said. "That’s how we play — scrappy with energy and effort offensively and defensively. Not having that, you’ll get a 20 or 30-point blowout like (Friday night).”
Note The Mavericks will conclude their road trip by traveling to Minnesota for a second meeting against the Timberwolves. The Mavs fell at home to the Minnesota squad, 90-82, on Nov. 12. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.