Mavericks look like they’re imploding after ‘dog s***’ effort in loss to the lowly Hornets

The Mavericks are now 11th in the Western Conference standings and at risk of missing the playoffs completely.

·4-min read

Friday night was awful for the Dallas Mavericks.

The Charlotte Hornets, who entered the game as massive 15.5-point underdogs, absolutely dominated the Mavericks 117-109 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas. The Hornets, despite being on the back end of a back-to-back series and being short several key players, put up 37 points in the first quarter and led almost the entire game. At one point, they even built up a huge 21-point lead in the third quarter.

While the Mavericks cut the lead to a single point briefly in the fourth quarter, the Hornets responded with a 10-0 run and pushed to the 8-point win. According to ESPN, the loss was the biggest upset of the season.

Fans in Dallas, understandably, essentially booed the Mavericks off the court.

“It was awful. Dog s***,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said, via the Dallas Morning News’ Callie Caplan. “I think just understanding the talk before the game of what we’re playing for — playoffs or championship — and to come out in that first half, but more or less that first quarter, and give up 37 [points].

“The interest level just wasn’t high. It was just … disappointing.”

The loss was the third straight for the Mavericks, and the sixth loss in their last eight games. It also dropped Dallas to No. 11 in the Western Conference standings with just eight games left in the regular season.

While there are nine teams in the Western Conference within just a few of games of each other in the standings, the Mavericks are now at risk of missing the playoffs altogether.

“We got to fight hard, play harder. That’s about it,” said Luka Dončić, who put up 34 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, via ESPN. “We got to show we care and it starts with me first. I’ve just got to lead this team, being better, playing harder. It’s on me.”

Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks
Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks are now at risk of missing the playoffs completely. (Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

Luka Dončić isn’t having fun anymore, and that's concerning

Dončić and Kyrie Irving have not meshed well on the court since Irving arrived in Dallas earlier this year.

The Mavericks are just 7-12 since Irving landed with the Mavericks in the huge trade with the Brooklyn Nets, and the team is just 3-7 when both Irving and Dončić play together.

Though he didn’t get into specifics as to why, saying only that there are some issues in his personal life, Dončić isn’t having fun playing anymore. And with just a handful of games left in the regular season, that's not something you want to hear from someone who was once in the thick of the MVP race as the Mavericks try to scramble to even make the postseason.

“I think you can see it with me on the court,” Dončić said, via ESPN. “Sometimes I don’t feel it’s me. I’m just being out there.

“I used to have really fun, smiling on the court, but it’s just been so frustrating for a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”

Now both Dončić and Irving have dealt with various injuries in recent weeks, which has undoubtedly complicated the adjustment process between the two. Irving, who finished with 18 points in the loss and shot just 1-of-8 from behind the arc, said they’re still working on their connection.

“We're still feeling each other out in a way of getting used to each other's efforts and attitudes and temperament,” Irving said, via ESPN. “And that's a real thing. That's a human thing. That's a human element. Whether people believe it in basketball or not, there's a very fine line between winning basketball games and everyone being on the same page and losing basketball games and things splintering and pointing fingers."

As for the boos the Mavericks received from their own fans, which Kidd said were justified and even should have come sooner than they did on Friday night, Irving insists he doesn’t care.

“You obviously want to play well, but it’s only five people on the court that can play for the Dallas Mavericks,” Irving said, via ESPN. “If the fans want to change places, then hey, be my guest. Got years of work ahead to be great enough to be on this level. But our focus isn't necessarily on the boos. It should be on our performance and just being there for each other."

Regardless of their reasoning or logic, Irving and Dončić have just a few games to get it together. Otherwise, the team that reached the Western Conference finals just a year ago will be packing it up in just a couple of weeks.