Before Monday's game, Rick Carlisle addressed a trend for the Mavericks that on the surface would seem to be a valuable asset.
It concerned the fact that after their first four losses this season, they came back in the next game and won all four times by an average of 21 points.
Against Philadelphia, they made it five-for-five in bounce-back wins, even though it was a lot tougher this time. J.J. Barea had three critical plays in a row early in the fourth quarter to spark the Mavericks, then Jason Terry saved their skin with an 18-foot baseline jumper with 1.4 seconds left that clinched a 104-102 win over the Sixers at American Airlines Center.
Barea had a 3-pointer, drew an offensive foul by taking a charge and then scored on a layup as the Mavericks turned a four-point lead into an 87-78 advantage.
From there, the Mavericks held on - barely.
Carlisle's point must have been resonating in their ears. He believes the Mavericks are resilient, sure. But is it really a great character trait? Or does it beg a deeper question?
"I think we got a pretty good team and some of it is when you lose, you get ticked off and come back and win,'' Carlisle said. "I think it's a dangerous cycle to get into because then the question becomes: why are you losing in the first place.
"We're trying to get better every day and get more consistent. In our wins, our points per possession defensively ranks No. 1 in the league, by far. In our losses, we rank last in the league by far. That's something we're trying to reconcile. We want to be good every night. We don't want to have the lapses.
"We don't want the wild highs and lows that we're going through.''
At least the bad mood swings don't last long. The Mavericks came back from a 16-point loss at Cleveland with a solid effort led by Jason Kidd, who had a season-best 22 points and 11 assists, and Dirk Nowitzki, who had 28 points.
But it was Barea's quick outburst that helped make up for the Mavericks' second horrid rebounding game in a row. After tying a franchise-low in boards with 24 in Cleveland, they got butchered 60-37.
Barea also had another 3-pointer that came when Philly had drawn within 92-86. Not that it didn't get sticky down the stretch. Thaddeus Young had a follow shot and a 3-pointer that pulled Philadelphia within 101-99 with a minute to go.
The Mavericks missed three layups, one by Nowitzki and two on tip tries by Drew Gooden. The Sixers were foiled once when Shawn Marion played tight defense on Iquodala. But after Kidd hit just one of two free throws, Iguodala got another chance and hit the trey over Marion's outstretched arms.
That set the table for Terry. After his shot, the Sixers did not get a good shot, with Iguodala missing a prayer.
Briefly: Quinton Ross said he probably will miss another game or two with his lower-back problem. "It's still the same,'' Ross said. "I'm getting it worked on, but it's still not right.''