The Dallas Mavericks are not a high turnover team. Averaging 13.7 a game, they rank ninth in the NBA in fewest turnovers per game.
However, they had struggled through spells where they cough it up with the worst of them. On some occasions bloated turnover numbers get covered up by wins over reeling teams, such as 21 turnovers in a 116-100 win over the Sacramento Kings or 19 in a 118-99 win over the Utah Jazz.
But, there's no hiding from 47 turnovers in three recent losses to the Los Angeles Lakers (13 turnovers), Portland Trail Blazers (15) and Friday's 97-91 loss to the San Antonio Spurs (19). In the three games, the Mavs turned it over 20 times more than their opponents. L.A. and Portland combined for 16 turnovers, or the Mavs' average (15.6) in the three losses.
"We just had a couple of careless ones," Mavs guard Jason Terry said of the 19 against the Spurs that included five in the fourth quarter and four in the first five minutes of the period. "I got stripped two or three times. Hey, you got to be stronger with the ball and I take responsibility for that. We had 19 and I had four of them."
Terry wasn't the only culprit. The Mavs' backcourt accounted for 13 of the 19 turnovers. Jason Kidd had three, giving him at least three in each of the last four games and 13 overall. J.J Barea had three, including a bad pass in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. And, Roddy Beaubois had three, including two in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter.
The second was a killer when Manu Ginobili picked Beaubois' pocket after Dallas made a defensive stop. The Mavs had trimmed the Spurs' lead to 73-71 and had the momentum. Ginobili stabbed at the ball with his left hand across Beaubois' body, gained control without fouling and got it to Gary Neal, who buried a 3-pointer for San Antonio's first points of the fourth quarter at the 6:58 mark for a 76-71 lead.
Beaubois left the game moments later as Kidd re-entered. The second-year guard would get back in with 3:32 to go after center Tyson Chandler fouled out and the Mavs trailing 87-77.
It was another tough lesson for Beaubois who sandwiched solid games at Portland and Golden State between difficult outings against the Lakers and Spurs. Against L.A., he had consecutive turnovers in the second quarter that led to five points in a 9-0 Lakers run.
"I thought Roddy played well," Kidd said. "He’s going to be up and down and he’s going to have good and bad games, but this is an experience and this is what he needs right now. The more time that he’s on the floor the more he will be seasoned for the next season, and that’s the playoffs."
Turnovers aren't solely on Beaubois. It's a team issue right now and if the Mavs hope make the next season last, they'll have to figure out a solution.