Yet another game was come and gone and the Dallas Mavericks found themselves wondering how another big lead almost disintegrated into an embarrassing loss. The Mavs led the Cleveland Cavaliers by 24 points with less than a minute remaining before halftime Monday. But the Cavs sliced and diced their way through the Mavs’ porous defense until they were able to inch within 91-89 with 3:25 remaining in a game the Mavs eventually won 102-97. “We’re still not as tight at the end of games that we need to be,” owner Mark Cuban said. “But the fact that we’re there and having those leads, we’re doing a lot of good things leading up to that point.” Cuban blames the nine new faces as the reason the Mavs are blowing — or nearly blowing — large leads. It’s a hefty price to pay when the roster has gotten flipped two summers in a row. “Guys are not used to each other yet,” Cuban said. “There’s not a lot of corporate knowledge. We’re not all the way, but we’re getting better.” Donnie Nelson agreed that the new players getting familiar with the six returning players has played a role in the Mavs’ large leads getting erased. That lack of familiarity is why the Mavs have lost four games this season when they’ve blown leads that were 17 points or more. “We’ve got nine new faces,” said Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations. “And obviously [coach] Rick [Carlisle] has done just a really, really terrific job putting things in place.” Nelson said that although the Mavs will take a 25-18 record into Wednesday’s 6 p.m. game in the Air Canada Centre against the Toronto Raptors, they’re never in a position to be satisfied. He even referenced last year when then guard O.J. Mayo enticed some of his teammates to grow beards until the Mavs could reach the .500 mark.
Lack of familiarity could be contributing to Mavericks’ lack of finishing power
Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Jan 22