Struggling O.J. Mayo sent home due to flu

DALLAS -- As if times haven’t been tough enough for O.J. Mayo, the Mavericks sent him home from Monday’s practice because the flu bug bit him.

Mayo is coming off his toughest three-game stretch as a Mav, dropping him from eighth to 13th among the NBA’s leading scorers this season. Not coincidentally, the Mavs are mired in a three-game losing streak.

Mayo had a total of 25 points on 9-of-33 shooting in lopsided losses to the Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. He committed 12 turnovers in the three losses, 11 coming in the past two games.

Dirk Nowitzki’s return should help Mayo as much as anybody. Opposing defenses have made Mayo, who is still averaging 19.3 points per game, their primary focus, frequently trapping him.

“Caliber of competition has raised, which has made it more difficult for all of us,” coach Rick Carlisle said when asked about Mayo’s recent struggles. “I don’t think that this is a day to make this about one guy’s struggles. We win and lose as a team. That’s where our collective mindset has got to be at.”