Mavs have played like it's 1999-2000

Michael Finley, Shawn Bradley, Erick Strickland, Hubert Davis ... and a 21-year-old named Dirk Nowitzki.

That was the Mavericks’ starting lineup in a 24-point home loss to Minnesota on March 9, 2000, which was the last time before Saturday night’s rout in Memphis that Dallas had suffered four successive losses by double-digit margins.

After that Minnesota defeat – which happened to be the Mavericks’ first game after the release of Dennis Rodman – Dallas finished the season on 16-5 run to complete Mark Cuban’s first half-season as the team’s owner. The Mavs have been a 50-win team ever since, reaching 10 consecutive postseasons after missing the previous 10 in a row.

It’s not terribly surprising, mind you, that the Mavs couldn’t hang with the Grizz on a night Nowitzki logged just 15 minutes in his comeback thanks to a third-quarter ejection and with the flu-ridden Tyson Chandler too ill to play. Chandler is by far Dallas’ best interior defender … and Memphis leads the league in points in the paint this season at nearly 50 per game.

A double-digit loss Monday to the struggling Pistons in Detroit, unlikely as it seems, would give the Mavericks five straight losses by a margin of 10 points or more for the first time since their 13-win season in 1993-94. They lost eight straight by double digits that season from Jan. 3-18, 1994.