DALLAS -- Misery loves company, so maybe the Dallas Cowboys will take comfort in knowing they’re not the only team in town that’s terrible at protecting big leads.
You get the feeling that these Dallas Mavericks can’t build a lead that’s too big to blow.
The Mavs hit a new low -- or high, depending on your perspective -- this season by coughing up a 19-point lead in Friday night’s 109-108 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors. They had already blown leads of 17 and 18 points in losses to the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, respectively.
“We’ve got to be the team that loses leads quicker than any team in the league,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We give up a 19-point lead in a couple of minutes. We’ve got to be more solid.”
It wasn’t quite a couple of minutes, but that’s not too much of an exaggeration. The Mavs had a 41-22 lead when Nowitzki took a breather with 8:13 to go in the second quarter. The lead was sliced to 10 by the time he checked back less than a few minutes later, and Toronto took the lead 57.9 seconds before halftime.
“They seen some weak spots and they went at them and got back in the game,” said Shawn Marion, who recalled hearing the Raptors’ bench yelling to attack certain matchups. “We’ve got to collectively own this. We’ve got to take the challenge. Sometimes when people are trying to go at certain people, we’ve got to take the challenge on ourselves and look at ourselves in the mirror and buckle down and do something about it.
“Until then, we’re going to have problems like that. It sucks.”
The Mavs had chances to win at the buzzer during regulation and overtime, but it was the blown lead in the second quarter that was being lamented in the home locker room after the loss to the 10-14 Raptors.
“Really, against Toronto at home, it shouldn’t come down to the last couple of plays where we have to make shots to win,” Nowitzki said. “It just shouldn’t.”
Calderon’s big night goes for naught: Point guard Jose Calderon had an outstanding offensive night against the team he spent his first seven-plus NBA seasons playing for, lighting up the Raptors for a season-high 23 points and dishing out nine assists.
Calderon made eight of 13 shots from the floor, including 7-of-10 3-point shooting. He was especially spectacular in the fourth quarter, recording 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and three assists to key the Mavs’ rally from eight points down in the final nine minutes of regulation.
“Because I was so bad in the first half,” Calderon said when asked for an explanation of his fourth-quarter excellence.
“He looked really aggressive from the get-go,” Nowitzki said. “It kind of showed me this was a game he really wanted to have. It’s too bad we couldn’t win this one for him. That’s disappointing. He kept making big shots for us.”
Different toe hurting Harris: Guard Devin Harris has no choice but to be patient. After a setback with his left foot, he’s again limited to low-impact conditioning work, such as running on the underwater treadmill.
The good news: The toe that’s bothering Harris isn’t the one he had surgically repaired this summer. He’s dealing with inflammation around the third metatarsal of his left foot, not the second metatarsal that was operated on in July.
Harris had hoped to be ready to make his season debut by Christmas, but the best-case scenario is that he’ll be cleared to play at some point in January.
“Right now, we’re kind of in the wait-and-see department,” Harris said. “We’ll see when that calms down and that’s when I’ll resume activities.”