Mavericks Beat Nuggets, But Real Problems Remain Evident

Feb 26, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) looks to drive as Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) defends during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons (25) looks to drive as Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) defends during the first half against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dallas Mavericks avoided an ugly loss at home by coming back to beat the Denver Nuggets. But the team’s inconsistency remains a problem that puts a cap on their ceiling this season and one that must be corrected. Soon.

After another one of their notoriously slow starts, one that resulted in a 23-point first half deficit, the Dallas Mavericks were able to storm back in the second half (twice) and defeat the Denver Nuggets in overtime, 122-116.

Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons combined for 47 points, David Lee turned in a nice double-double, and Raymond Felton made some big plays down the stretch, but the fifth-largest comeback in franchise history was more disturbing than encouraging.

There’s no other way to put it: this is a team fighting for their playoff lives. It’s great that enough was mustered to come away with a win, but how does a team that has lost three of four, with teams below them in the standings coming on, come out flat? It cost them in Orlando just a few days ago, and it nearly cost them again on their home floor against the Nuggets.

It’s frustrating, because at times this Mavericks team looks really good. The 38-point second quarter that got them back into the game against Orlando, and their 32-point third and fourth quarters against the Nuggets are examples of what the offense can do with a little ball movement and guys knocking down open shots.

And there continue to be bright spots: Dirk’s quiet consistency, Parsons’ continued all-star level play, Felton’s crunch time heroics, and the improved efficiency of Wesley Matthews over the last five games (40% from three-point land after going 4-7 against Denver).

But the slow starts, allowing opponents to creep back into games when Dallas has control, and roller-coaster effort shouldn’t be the traits of an experienced, veteran squad.

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It isn’t too late for the Mavericks to solve these problems. When Wesley Matthews is hitting from outside efficiently Dallas is a different team. And David Lee (questionable rotations aside) looks like he’ll be a solid contributor down the stretch. His 14-point, 14-rebound night was his first double-double in over a year, and he’s shown the ability to be an effective distributor in just two games with the Mavs.

However, until the Mavericks solve their problems with consistency, both in effort and production, the ceiling for this year’s team remains a first round exit.

It might not be a popular stance, but despite the comeback win, Dallas has some very real problems that must be addressed to change their fortunes.

Next: Dallas Mavericks: A Look at Their Playoff Hopes

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