DENVER -- Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said his team was "too casual'' during the first quarter of Wednesday's 115-110 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.
In a game with deep playoff implications, why would the Mavs find it acceptable to be too casual?
"You've got to ask those guys,'' said Carlisle, who took the blame for not having the Mavs ready to play. "We win and lose together, so I’m not going to sit here and point fingers.
"I’ve already pointed the finger at myself. I'm taking the majorty of blame for this.''
Dirk Nowitzki, however, figure the players should shoulder the lion's share of the blame for this utter catastrophe which saw the Mavs allow 41 points in the first quarter and 36 more in the fourth period.
"Most of it, I guess, is on the players,'' the 12-time All-Star forward said. "We just got to be ready to play, especially after we just lost two and knowing what the standings are.
"This is one we needed to have. We just didn’t come out the right way and didn’t set the right tone and they took advantage of it, obviously.''
It was the Mavs' third straight loss, which is a season high. It also put their playoff chances in serious, serious jeopardy.
The loss was more devastating considering the Nuggets had lost 11 of their past 12 games, including their last six. Playoff hopeful teams simply don't lose games to lottery-bound teams that have dropped 11 of 12 games.
"We just got to understand where this is at,'' Carlisle said. "This is evidence tonight that the games have to be played, the games have to be played.''
-- Dwain Price
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