DALLAS -- It must have been extremely puzzling to the Dallas Mavericks that, with playoff positioning on the line, they came out Wednesday night and fell behind the Minnesota Timberwolves by 22 points early in the second quarter.
The Mavs did eventually fight back and tie the game. But they eventually lost to the Timberwolves in overtime, 123-122, at American Airlines Center.
So why such a sluggish start -- which included six first-quarter turnovers -- with so much pride and prestige at stake?
“Plays in overtime, you can go through those all you want,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “But when you’re trying to be a team that can win in the playoffs -- not just eke in – playing a first quarter like that on your home court in a game this meaningful is a bad sign for us right now.
“And so we’ve got to turn it around.’’
The loss left the Mavs with a 41-28 record, as they slipped a notch behind Memphis and fell into the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference standings. The Mavs are also just one game ahead of the ninth-place Phoenix Suns (39-29) in the loss column.
But why such a lethargic start against the Timberwolves, who own the season series over the Mavs 3-1?
"They came out and struck first and we were playing catch up the whole rest of the game,'' forward Shawn Marion said. "We got it tied and had the lead there for a little bit, but we weren't able to close it out.
"We were able to fight and get it to overtime and we just couldn't quite close it out and get the win.''
-- Dwain Price
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