After quick flush, Mavs can't let Bulls bully them

DALLAS – There’s no denying the fact that the Mavericks came up with a terribly timed dud, getting blown out by the Indiana Pacers on a night that they could have made up a game on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Elton Brand called it “disheartening.” Dirk Nowitzki used a more simple term: “It sucks.”

It’s the kind of loss that could linger with a mentally weak team.

The Mavs have many flaws, but mental weakness isn’t among them. For better or worse, they’ve proven that they can get past an awful loss.

“I think we have plenty and plenty of tough losses this year,” Nowitzki said. “We should know how to recover from it and flush it and maybe watch some of this stuff [Friday]. … It’s the same way we flushed all the other 40 losses and come back ready to play Saturday.”

Just look at how the 35-37 Mavs responded to their last blowout loss, when they were humiliated in Houston on March 3. They beat the Rockets in a rematch a few days later, starting a four-game winning streak and a stretch of nine wins in 12 games.

In this case, the Mavs must bounce back against a different set of East bullies before heading on a road trip that begins with a potentially pivotal game against the Lakers.

For now, the Mavs’ focus is firmly on the Bulls, who they face at 1 p.m. Saturday. They’re well aware that Chicago is just as capable of kicking their butts on the boards as the Pacers were.

Indiana, the league’s top rebounding differential team, had a 55-34 edge on the glass Thursday night. The Mavs rank 28th in rebounding differential.

“It was a wipeout inside as far as the rebounding,” Carlisle said. “That’s been a challenge for us and we’ve got to get ready for it again on Saturday, because Chicago’s got the same kind of team.”

That requires a quick flushing and refreshed energy for a Mavs team fighting for a chance to sneak into the playoffs.