Found January 05, 2012 on Project Spurs:

The defending NBA champs Dallas Mavericks (3-5) took one on the chin tonight in San Antonio as the Spurs (5-2) won easily 93-71.

And the loss can be blamed on a poor first half as Dallas only managed to score 29 points while star Dirk Nowitzki put up six points in four quarters while losing their floor leader Jason Kidd due to a back injury early in the game.

"They really got out of the gate strong and they hit us in the mouth real early and then we really never recovered from that," said Mavericks' Ian Mahinmi.

"It's hard when you play down 15, 10, 20 (points) the whole game. You try to get out of that hole but it's hard especially against a team like that. They're (Spurs) are so well organized, they know what they're doing and on top of that they were making shots from all over the place."

Indeed the Spurs were hitting shots from all over the place. San Antonio shot 48.5% from the three-point line for the game led by Gary Neal's 4-7 shooting and Matt Bonner's 5-9 shooting from long distance.

But Dallas doesn't have time to lament over this loss to the San Antonio. They will next face the New Orleans Hornets and Mahinmi knows the team must put this loss behind them.

"We don't really have time to cry or do anything like that. We got to regroup and do better."

And as the defending champs continue to find their rhythm to defend their crown, Mahinmi says there are lessons to take into their next game.

"We got to come out aggressive from the get-go. We can't expect stuff to happen, we got to make it happen. We got to be aggressive. That's what we got to remember from this game, we can't let teams hit us first."

And it's not just the lack of aggressiveness which doomed the Mavericks tonight. Dallas defensively allowed the Spurs to nail 61.1% of their three-point attempts and 44.4% from the field overall. 

"In the second half when we play better defensively, it led to them missing more shots," said Brendan Haywood. "We know we can play better defense than we did in the first half and we just have to go out there and do it."

Haywood is on-point. Dallas will have to regain that lock-down defense which netted them a title last season but allowing 97.9 points per game this season will not get the job done.

The Mavericks haven't looked like the defending champs so far this season. The team has lost to potential playoff opponents (Denver, Miami, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio) which has resulted in the team being currently third in the Southwest Division behind Memphis and San Antonio.

The season may still be in it's infancy but if tonight's loss is any indication, Dallas will have to find that aggressiveness and defense soon if they want another parade in downtown Dallas.

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