The Mavericks have morphed into a poor defensive team this month.
It's not a coincidence that this occurred when the effusion in Erick Dampier's left knee flared up.
The stats during a 13-game stretch are pretty ugly: The Mavs have allowed 101.4 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting while going 7-6.
How awful is that shooting percentage allowed? The New Jersey Nets rank last in the league in that category at 48.5 percent.
Dampier is the Mavs' defensive anchor, but he's weighing them down as he limps around these days. The poor guy had to try to keep up with Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings and Phoenix's Steve Nash on pick-and-rolls the last couple of games, which is tough enough to do on two good legs.
The Bucks and Suns both shot better than 50 percent from the floor against the Mavs. With the Mavs' rotations thrown out of whack, the Bucks and Suns combined to hit 18-of-33 3-point attempts.
Coach Rick Carlisle has harped on defense since the Mavs reported to training camp. He got the desired results for the first two months of the season.
Now Carlisle needs to figure out how to compensate for a big man who is doing the best he can on a bad wheel.