DALLAS _ In the NBA, they call it a "trap' game.
By definition, it's a three-game set where the first game is against a quality opponent, the second game is against a lesser foe, and the third game is against a quality opponent. That's the situation the Dallas Mavericks found themselves in Tuesday night.
The Mavs were coming off a quality win Monday night at Oklahoma City and hosted a lesser foe Tuesday night in theToronto Raptors. And everybody donning Mavericks colors has Thursday circled on their calender.
That's the day the big, bad San Antonio Spurs come to town. So with a win over the Thunder in the bag -- and with the big bad Spurs coming to town Thursday -- there was a human tendency to look past the Raptors.
Toronto took advantage of being overlooked by the Mavs and went on to stun Dallas, 84-76, behind a career-high 17 points and a career-high tying 12 rebounds from rookie Ed Davis.
"I just think we kind of took them lightly,'' Mavs guard DeShawn Stevenson admitted. "We couldn't get to the hole and get the shots that we usually get.''
Those shots weren't there because the Mavs were without forward Dirk Nowitzki, who commands a great amount of attention when he's on the court. Nowitzki sat out Tuesday's game with a sprained right knee, and no one stepped up to fill the void.
The 76 points were the fewest the Mavs (24-6) have scored this season. And it came against a Toronto team that's 11-20 and had a bevy of its key players injured.
"We had some guys play well, but when it came time to put it all together we just came up short,'' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "It was a disappointing loss, but I would credit Toronto more on their effort and how well they played.
"They won the game. We didn't give it to them.''
-- Dwain Price