Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/30/12
By virtue of Sunday's 111-86 home loss to the Spurs, Dallas is seven games under .500 for first time since April 2000. And that is the only possible way to use 'virtue' in a sentence about these Mavs. The Dallas Mavericks have closed the calendar year in a way exactly opposite the way they opened the season. Yes, that win at the Lakers on Opening Night seems so long ago. ... as does the glory of the Mavs' 2011 NBA title. Dallas is in the process of slipping a couple of classes, down to the point where a game against the contending San Antonio Spurs seems to come with it a foregone conclusion. Sunday's 111-86 loss was a tad more respectable than the team's 129-91 loss at San Antonio eight days ago. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's summation of Dallas' night is a generous one. "They had a tough night shooting ... We were fortunate, obviously Dirk is not ready. He's not Dirk Nowitzki, basically, one of the greatest players that's ever played, so it's going to take time for him," Popovich said. "Everybody's just trying to figure out their place and work around, and get back into a rotation. ... They were in the game all night. It was a six- or eight-point game, and it kept changing, and we finally made a run in the second half. We made some shots and they just never made shots." Thanks, Pop, but ... we are grasping at straws here. This is Dallas' sixth straight loss. The Mavs have dropped nine of their last 10 games. They are now 12-19 on the season. By my count, that's nine times Dallas has lost by 19 or more. "We just didn't get it done, and we haven't gotten it done in a pretty significant stretch of games now," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who noted the team's cracks in discipline at practice and its carryover into games. But how many bullets can a coach fire? How many chairs can he throw? Six straight losses? This is just the third time in the Cuban Era that's happened. Seven games under .500? This is the first time that's happened to this proud franchise since April 2000. Getting things turned around in order to claim the customary playoff berth? Know that going into Sunday, Dallas needed to find a way to win 32 of the final 52 to qualify for the postseason. Basically, a team that right now wins less than 40 percent of its games is going to immediately have to start winning 62 percent of its games. Read here to fully understand the percentages-driven hole that's been dug. Dallas failed to find answers for Tony Parker (21 points and nine assists), Manu Ginobili (20 points and five assists) or Tim Duncan (18 points and 10 rebounds). That'd be easier to absorb if Dirk was Dirk. But as Pop notes, that's still not the case. So The UberMan (having shed the knee sleeve) settles for eight points, five rebounds and three blocks in 23 minutes. "As far as the Big Three," Carlisle said, "they're great players and we didn't do a good job on them. They made a lot of plays, a lot of shots. Some of them we contested, but a lot of the plays they made, they were just better than us." Darren Collison (18 points and eight assists) is upticking. Elton Brand (14 points and 10 rebounds) and Chris Kaman (13 points and nine boards) bob about in the middle. O.J. Mayo continues to slump (he was held under 10 points for the fourth time in five games). And in a move unlikely to please the masses on DB.com Boards, Vince Carter (13 points) was given a why-the-hell-not start, his first of the year ... and I suppose it didn't quite have its intended impact as Dallas fell behind 20-6 to begin the game. To his credit, Carlisle is unwilling to grasp at straws ... even as it seems that's all Dallas has right now. I don't want to get into a dialogue on the parts of the game that were OK'," he said. "It's not what this organization has been about since Mark bought the team. This is a stretch that is unprecedented, really
The worst players to play pickup basketball with
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Indians' Roberto Perez reveals battle with Bell's palsy

76ers apologize for pulling singer from national anthem

Cubs fans line up outside bar at 5:30 am before Game 3

Sheldon Adelson threatens to walk away from Raiders stadium deal

NCAA set to distribute some revenue based on academic performance


Tom Brady nixes a future in coaching, blames lack of patience

Report: NFL interviewed Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott about domestic incident

Aldon Smith has applied for reinstatement to the NFL

Bill Polian suggests NFL step in if Browns trade Joe Thomas

Mike Zimmer denies details of slaughtered stuffed animal story

Russell: Home opener without Bryant ‘felt like a home game’

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

Box Score 10/28: London, Wrigley and the Cell

NHL in three players: Carey Price is the MVP of sports

Rex Ryan: Pats’ violation of unwritten rule led to skirmish

LeBron doesn’t want Thompson bringing Khloe around Cavs?

NFL ratings decline is also hurting the restaurant business

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

Darrelle Revis: ‘My body’s breaking down’

Box Score 10/27: Embiid, Banks, beer and bowl games

76ers fan ejected for flipping off Russell Westbrook apologizes

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

We’re doing the Bountygate thing again

Significant firsts for women's wrestling in WWE at 'Hell in a Cell'

One Gotta Go: Pac-12 players and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers

A look back at 10 of the best-looking World Series

25 questions heading into the 2016-17 NBA season

The sports classic horror villains would play

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker