Embarrassed Mavs try to bounce back against Nets

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NEW YORK — The Dallas Mavericks used all sorts of negative
adjectives to describe their worst loss of the season on Friday
in Philadelphia.

“Flat,” “embarrassing” and mind-boggling” were some of the word
choices.

With fewer than 48 hours to digest what went wrong, the
Mavericks visit the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

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Dallas makes the short trip to New York after being dominated
during a 116-74 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

In their most lopsided loss of the season, the Mavericks
produced the following: 34.5 percent shooting, including 21.7
percent from 3-point range in a game they led by two points
after the first quarter.

“Tonight, was by far the worst of the year in terms of energy,
effort, togetherness and we all own it,” Mavericks coach Rick
Carlisle said. “We all own it. There is not a lot to say we got
outplayed in every way possible.”

Dallas actually held a six-point lead early in the second
quarter. It began the game by shooting 13 of 23 but shot 17 of
64 the rest of the way.

“We were just awful,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said.
“Give them credit, they threw a hard game at us, making tough
shots. Our weakside just wasn’t there.

“They hit us in every facet of the game. Fast-break points,
they killed us by 20 on the glass. The bottom line is they
outplayed us out fought us and it was embarrassing.”

To further illustrate how bad Friday became, the Mavericks’
starters combined for 31 points and were a combined minus-126.
Nowitzki shot 5 of 9 from the field, but Wesley Matthews was 1
of 8 and Harrison Barnes was 2 of 7.

“Having a performance like this is mind-boggling, but we have
to just keep our composure,” Barnes, said. “At the end of the
day we didn’t lose this game because of anything more than
energy and effort.”

It was a potentially damaging loss to the Mavericks’ playoff
hopes. Dallas (29-39) sits 10th in the Western Conference, but
a decent-sized distance separates them and the Denver Nuggets.

It might prove to be more crushing to their playoff aspirations
since Dallas’ remaining schedule features 10 of 13 games
against teams in the top eight.

“I take full responsibility in these situations,” Carlisle
said. “Players certainly have some responsibility, too. We’ve
all got to look in the mirror and do a hell of a lot better on
Sunday.”

The Mavericks faced the Nets and emerged with a 105-96 home win
on March 10. That was the last game of a four-game winning
streak and gave them six wins in eight games.

Dallas has dropped three of four since and two of those losses
were ugly and lopsided.

The Nets remain the worst team in the league and have split
four games since their last meeting with Dallas. Brooklyn is
4-8 since the All-Star break, when Jeremy Lin returned from a
second strained left hamstring.

Three of Brooklyn’s last four losses were by single digits and
the Nets are 8-26 in games decided by fewer than 10 points.

The latest was a 98-95 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday. In
their 18th loss in the last 19 home games, the Nets missed
potential 3-pointers by Brook Lopez and Quincy Acy in the final
six seconds.

“I was confident and it felt good,” Lopez said. “I thought it
was going in. But they took away our first option. I just tried
to make myself available. We fought until literally the very
end.”

Lopez led the Nets with 23 points, while Randy Foye added 14 as
Brooklyn was forced to play catch-up after shooting 27.9
percent in the first half.

“We got a couple clean-ish looks, but that’s what happens when
we put ourselves in that position,” Nets guard Lin said. “I
thought we played really hard, fought through a lot of stuff.
Sometimes that’s just how it is, and you wish the shots went
in.”

The Nets were shorthanded as Joe Harris (sprained right
shoulder), Trevor Booker (left leg soreness) and Sean
Kilpatrick (strained left hamstring) sat out.

Harris and Kilpatrick probably will remain out, but the Nets
don’t think Booker’s injury will become a long-term ailment and
the rugged forward could play Sunday.

Dallas has won four of the last five meetings.

On the last trip to Brooklyn on Dec. 23, 2015, Nowitzki passed
Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place on the NBA’s
all-time scoring list and made the game-winning basket with
19.2 seconds left in a 119-118 overtime victory.

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