DALLAS _ As if they didn’t already know it, the Dallas Mavericks discovered how life is without Dirk Nowitzki.
And it isn’t very good.
The Toronto Raptors ran the court hard and hit the boards even harder en route to stunning the Nowitzki-less Mavericks, 84-76, Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The 76 points were the fewest the Mavs have scored all season as they suffered a serous power outage.
The loss snapped the Mavs’ five-game winning streak and dropped them 2 1/2 games behind San Antonio in the Southwest Division. The Spurs, who play in Dallas on Thursday, hammered the two-time defending world champion Los Angles Lakers, 97-82, on Tuesday.
Dallas (24-6) entered Tuesday’s game following an impressive 103-93 win at Oklahoma City on Monday. However, Nowitzki sprained his right knee in that game and wasn’t available to play against the Raptors.
Nowitzki’s absence was like the Supremes trying to sing without Diana Ross.
“When you’re missing your best player it’s always difficult,’’ Mavs guard JJ Barea said. “We’re going to have to do a better job in the next game.’’
Barea acknowledged that the Raptors (11-20) were the better team on this night. Toronto won the scoring battle in the paint, 48-24, and it had a 25-9 advantage in fast break points.
“They outplayed us at both ends,’’ Barea said. “They played great defense on us and we couldn’t execute.’’
The Mavs only shot .413 percent from the field and got outrebounded, 42-35.
Toronto led 23-13 after the first quarter, 46-40 at the half, and 64-59 entering the final period.
“I think Toronto played a great game and we were subpar,’’ Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “We got off to a sluggish start, particularly defensively.
“I think we were in too much of a ‘try and make things happen’ mode and not enough trusting the team and the system and really working together.’’
The Mavs are now 5-1 in the second game of back-to-backers. This also was the third ugly home loss of the season for the Mavs, who also lost to lowly Memphis (91-90) and Milwaukee (103-99) at American Airlines Center earlier this year.
Meanwhile, forward Caron Butler had his right shooting hand heavily taped after the game. Butler said he injured the fourth and fifth fingers on his right hand, but added: “‘I’ll be fine.’’
The Mavs also hope Nowitzki, who is listed as day-to-day, will be fine and ready to go against the Spurs.
-- Dwain Price