There are losses and there are bad losses.
This was a bad Mavericks loss, even without Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion. Actually, it was worse than bad.
Charlotte 101, Dallas 97, in overtime.
This team has a lot to learn about winning, said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, after his team blew an eight-point lead in the last 4 minutes, 19 seconds of regulation. Thats where were at. And this was a very painful lesson.
Four days ago, the Mavs were 4-1, had a three-game win streak and were tied atop the Western Conference. One of those wins was a 27-point blowout of these same Bobcats.
The coach of another of the Mavericks victims, Torontos Dwane Casey, remarked that Carlisle was doing a hell of a job with this group, with bailing wire.
The wire snapped, judging from this 0-2 road trip. Losing Friday to the unbeaten Knicks wasnt surprising, although Dallas 20 turnovers were a troubling sign.
The Mavericks spent an hour Saturday reviewing tape of that game, then committed 19 turnovers against the Bobcats. They also were dominated on the boards, 36-20, during the second half and overtime.
Carlisle also had called for increased energy Saturday. What did the Mavericks do? They fell behind, 17-4. And incensed Carlisle called a 20-second timeout 1:42 into the game, then yanked all five starters after just 4:13.
Asked why he pulled the starters, Carlisle said, They (the Bobcats) were kicking our (expletive).
The second-teamers, led by Vince Carter (19 points), helped lead an 18-2 run that put the Mavs ahead, seemingly to stay, after they took a 59-44 lead early in the third quarter.
I guess we thought they would go away, Mavericks swingman Dahntay Jones said. We should have known better. A bunch of resilient, hungry kids. They wanted it more. They deserved it.
Doing most of the damage was youngsters Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Rookie forward Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Second-year guard Walker dominated Mavericks counterpart Darren Collison, finishing with 26 points.
On two straight possessions, another quick guard, Ramon Sessions, drove through the heart of Dallas defense for layups, the second of which gave Charlotte its first lead of the second half, 86-85.