The rollercoaster ride feel of this season has been real.

The Mavs suffered another inexplicable loss on Monday night, this time, to the Kings (which is their second loss to Sacramento in eight days). Dallas was coming off two big wins over the Lakers, which put them by themselves in the West’s highly sought-after sixth seed, and only 1.5 games out of the fifth seed.

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But the good basketball didn’t last long. After seemingly gaining loads of momentum after a big comeback win over LA, the Mavericks came to a halt and lost to the 25-36 Sacramento Kings. Not only did they lose, but they started the game down 20-3. Sacramento’s defense is one of the worst in the league, which makes scoring three points in the first four minutes even worse… and it only gets worse. The Kings were without their young star De’Aaron Fox and lost Harrison Barnes during the game to a groin injury. So even without their two best players, Sacramento beat a Mavs team that is supposedly a playoff-caliber team.

This has been a theme all year long. The Mavericks are 11-13 against teams who have a losing record and are 22-14 against teams with a winning record, making absolutely no sense.

Their success when facing good teams should bode well for them when the playoffs roll around, but their struggle against below-average teams is ridiculous and rather concerning.

It is hard to find any specific reason for this stat, so the eye test is my best chance to explain it. On Monday night against the Kings, they looked horrible to start the game. They looked slow, they could not make a shot, and they lacked major energy.  This team appears to have a problem preparing for the lesser teams. That is a mindset problem. There is no reason that Dallas should be outscored 20-3 at the beginning of a game. The intensity was nowhere to be found. You would think that these guys would want to try to beat the Kings just one week after losing to them, but they did not. It’s like they mentally take days off when they assume they “weaker” teams on the schedule.

Another observation was that Dallas could not hit a long-range shot, but they continued to take them. If I were Rick Carlisle, I would tell my guys to get to the basket early to set a tone. We all know Luka can get by anybody whenever he wants, so why didn’t he?  He had just TWO shots at the rim. Is it because it was “just the Kings”?

Consistency is a problem right now. The highs have been awesome, while the lows have been pitiful. The Mavericks should blow the Kings out by at least 15.

How do you go from beating the Jazz one night to losing to the Rockets two nights later (this happened at the beginning of April)?

I understand that there is a parody in the NBA and that upsets can happen on any given night, but when you consistently lose to the lesser team and consistently beat the better teams, you know something is wrong. We know this team is good enough to win these games, which means that talent is not the issue.

There is a much larger issue that I cannot necessarily see, but I know that it is there; whether it is a weak mentality, lack of preparation, or just poor effort, it needs to be fixed.
Until it is fixed, this team will never be as great as it has the potential to be.

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