For the first time this season the Dallas Mavericks needed overtime to decide the game. Last year the Mavericks were terrible in games that needed extra time to decide the victor with a 3-8 record, and this year’s overtime game didn’t end any better.
Dallas, who had a 19-point lead on the Toronto Raptors in the second quarter, watched the lead disappear. As a matter of fact at one point in the second half the Raptors had taken an eight-point lead over the hometown Mavs. What happened and why did the Mavs lose such a big lead over Toronto?
Part of the reason can be summed up with one phrase: bench play. With the exception of Brandan Wright, the bench for Dallas was terrible in the loss. Wright — playing in only his third game — had 13 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in the game. The rest of the bench managed only 11 points, 11 rebounds and one blocked shot combined.
Dallas relied heavily on the play of its starters, three of which finished with 20 or more points in the game. Jose Calderon led the way with 23 points while Dirk Nowtizki had 22 and Monta Ellis chipped in 21. It’s bad enough Dallas lost to the Raptors, but to have the bench play so poorly is inexcusable.
Dallas has a rough three-game stretch starting Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns. After that they play against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs. The Mavs cannot afford to have the bench play as poorly as they did against Toronto in these next three games. If they do, the fate could very well be the same as it was against the Raptors.