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After Dark: Trying to make sense of an awful early season loss to the Pelicans

Dallas is 1-2 after another clutch time loss

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks fell to the Pelicans in their third game of the season, collapsing once again in crunch time and one again losing by just one basket, this time 113-111. It was a loss that didn’t need to happen, with New Orleans missing three of their starters.

Josh Bowe and I attempt to make some sense of how it even happened. I lay the blame firmly on the coaching staff and the rotations. This early on I think the JaVale McGee experiment should end as he’s been a non-contributing zero, fixing precisely none of what he was brought here to do. Kidd also used a closing line up that was “defensive” minded again, only to get outscored, so that isn’t working either.

On the other hand, the start defensively isn’t just on the coaches, it’s also on the players. McGee could stand to try harder and Luka Doncic needs to be more of a vocal leader in games getting on guys. Josh also has the good working theory that the offense is harder so far as defenders are staying home on shooters, and Luka isn’t finding them for open shots. The wing performances in this game from Dorian Finney-Smith, Reggie Bullock, and anyone else were mostly terrible. Christian Wood was a bright spot, but the minutes aren’t working out in a way that has translated to wins in these close games.

Would we be talking about any of this if Dallas was 3-0? Maybe not. But they aren’t and the Mavericks need to find a way to close out these games.

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