“I don’t want to say we folded,” the Mavs center said after Wednesday’s 119-109 loss to the Miami Heat, “but we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do.”
While the Heat improved to 3-0 in overtime this season, including an OT win at Orlando on Monday, the Mavericks were left to examine what happens to them once the first 48 minutes are up.
The Heat scored the first seven points of Wednesday’s overtime and made five of six shots overall in the extra period. The Mavericks, meanwhile, shot 1-of-4 from the floor in overtime and had three turnovers to the Heat’s zero.
“I think execution down the stretch has been one of our problems all year,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said after posting season highs of 19 points in 29 minutes. “We’re 0-6 in overtime and lost a lot of close ones in regulation. We have to work on that.”
Lack of familiarity is part of the problem, Nowitzki suggested on a night when guard O.J. Mayo (30 points) had as many turnovers as assists (six).
“The last couple years, we knew each other so well and we had a point guard, in Jason Kidd, who was always the smartest out there,” Nowitzki said. “I think it’s going to take us a little more time together to figure those end-of-game situations out.”
Added Kaman: “It’s probably the little things. Maybe guys are tired, and we don’t fight at the end as much as we should.”
Five of the Mavericks’ overtime losses have come on the road, where they are 5-14 overall. Four of those OT defeats have come in the past three weeks, including a double-overtime loss at Boston on Dec. 12 and a six-point overtime loss at Oklahoma City last week.
“It’s one or two plays a game when you’re talking about overtimes,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “And when you’re in six of them, those are tough lessons to learn. We’ve got to learn them.”