The Mavericks were cruising along nicely Sunday afternoon.
Then the second quarter started.
From then on, it was one disaster after another for the Mavericks who crashed to the tune of 102-74 against the defensive-minded Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Mavericks were up 35-20 a few seconds into the second quarter.
A little 54-21 run by the Cavaliers put them up 74-56 late in the third quarter and the Mavericks were dead men walking from then on.
They scored just 11 points in the third quarter, their worst 12 minutes of the season for offensive futility. The fourth quarter wasn't much better. They shot 11-for-38 in the second half and scored a whopping 25 points. They had 30 in the first quarter.
The Mavericks have lost two in a row and five of their last eight, which would seem to indicate they aren't exactly powering their way toward the playoffs.
Amazingly, the Mavericks led by as many as 15 points in the first half but settled for a 49-47 advantage at the half. Neither team was getting particularly good production from its star. Dirk Nowitzki was 5-of-16 in the first half, which sounds bad until you look at LeBron James, who was 3-of-11 in the half.
Doing more damage for Cleveland was Joe Smith, who came off the bench for 10 points and five rebounds.
For the Mavericks, it was Ryan Hollins who came off the bench with seven rebounds in the first half, in addition to a punishing slam on an offensive rebound, on which he went over Cleveland's Anderson Varejao for the jam.
In the third quarter, the Cavs scored the first eight points to go up 55-49. It was the only lead change of the game.
By the end of the third, it was 77-60 and the lead would grow into the 20s through most of the fourth quarter.
James came alive and finished with 24 points, mostly on jump shots, and 12 assists.