Usually solid defensively, the Dallas Mavericks suddenly can’t seem to stop anybody.
This isn’t a good sign as they get set to face a team that runs a style of offense that typically gives the Mavericks fits.
Dallas tries to regroup defensively and avoid its first four-game skid in more than a year Wednesday night when the up-tempo Golden State Warriors pay a visit looking to snap a longer slide.
The Mavericks (30-18) have a two-game lead over San Antonio in the Southwest Division, but haven’t looked much like a playoff-caliber team lately.
Dallas is coming off Monday’s 104-92 loss to Utah, a game it had a chance to win before falling apart down the stretch.
The Mavericks entered the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, but were outscored 27-16 the rest of the way. The offense was unable to get Dirk Nowitzki(notes) involved, as the nine-time All-Star was held without a field-goal attempt and limited to just two points in the final period after scoring 14 of his 28 in the third quarter.
Although the offense had a difficult time finishing, the defensive woes are the team’s biggest concern.
The Mavericks, who haven’t dropped four in a row since Jan. 9-14, 2009, are yielding an average of 109.3 points on 52.7 percent shooting in their last four games, up from 88.3 points on 42.7 percent shooting in their previous four.
Trying to fix those issues won’t come easy, even against the lowly Warriors (13-34).
Since the calendar changed to 2010, Dallas is just 8-8 with six of those defeats and none of the wins coming against teams that rank in the top eight in scoring. Despite its poor record, Golden State is second in the league, averaging 107.2 points.
“Those high-octane offense teams have been trouble for us,” Gooden said. “We got to play defense. So we have to go out there and strap it down defensively and make shots also.”
The Warriors’ prolific offense gave the Mavericks problems in their only meeting this season.
Using only six players because of an extensive injury list, Golden State won at Dallas 111-103 on Nov. 24. Monta Ellis(notes) led all scorers with 37 points, while Anthony Morrow(notes) added a season-best 27.
Despite their scoring prowess, the Warriors never got in sync in Tuesday’s 119-97 loss to Houston, their sixth straight defeat.
Ellis scored 34 points on 13 of 22 shooting, but the rest of the team shot 36.8 percent as Golden State was held to fewer than 100 points for just the second time in 15 games.
Curry didn’t do much to help Ellis, finishing with 14 points on 6 of 18 shooting.
Golden State was also hindered Tuesday by the absence of Corey Maggette(notes), who missed just his second game because of a hip pointer. The injury is not considered serious and Maggette, the team’s second-leading scorer with an average of 20.7 points, could be available for this game.