'Uncharacteristically stupid' Mavs must stop turnovers

DALLAS – Coach Rick Carlisle has pinpointed the primary cause of the Mavericks’ many turnovers on their recently completed winless road trip.

“To be honest, we’ve done uncharacteristically stupid things,” Carlisle said.

Such as?

“Well, you can’t throw the ball through the nose of a defender and have it come out his (rear end) to a teammate,” Carlisle colorfully explained, borrowing a phrase from the late coach Dick Harter.

That’s about as painful to envision as the Mavs’ offense during last week’s blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The Mavs committed 17 turnovers that night, the fewest of their 0-3 trip. They had a season-high 28 against the Boston Celtics and 20 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Call it uncharacteristic if you want, but only four teams average more turnovers per game than the Mavs’ 15.9. It’s a particular pressing issue right now, with the Mavs trying to snap a losing streak and the Philadelphia 76ers coming to town.

For those who have forgotten the Mavs’ trip to Philadelphia, things went haywire when they committed turnovers on six straight possessions in the fourth quarter. Not coincidentally, the Mavs signed 38-year-old Derek Fisher to be their starting point guard later that week.

The presence of Fisher, who had five turnovers in Friday night’s loss to the Timberwolves, hasn’t fixed the Mavs’ ball security issues. But the biggest culprits have been 25-year-old guards O.J. Mayo (3.0 turnovers per game) and Darren Collison (2.7).

“I’m going to take the blame for all of it,” Carlisle said. “It’s on me. I’ve got to help these guys with better coaching.

“I know it seems like Fisher has been in the league 29 years, but he hasn’t. He hasn’t, but I have, so I’ve got to do better.”

Fisher figures the lack of continuity has hurt the Mavs. They’ve used a league-high 11 starting lineups, and the rotation has been in a constant state of flux all season.

“Beyond that, it’s just a matter of being under control,” said Fisher, who acknowledged that the Mavs don’t have a true identity without Dirk Nowitzki. “Because we’re a team that plays with pace, sometimes you’re just going too fast. So sometimes we have to slow down. That doesn’t mean move slow, but just mentally slow yourself down and make sure you’re reading situations the right way on the flow.”

The wrong reads result in trying to squeeze the ball through the wrong holes. And that gets real messy for the Mavs.