Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mavs can't find the range in Cavs loss

Much has been made of the improvement of the last three weeks and rightfully so. The Mavericks appeared to turn a corner from an uneven 20-game start with a consistent stretch of basketball since the first week of December.

Other than the last two nights.

Cleveland put the finishing touches on a back-to-back nightmare by handling Dallas 88-81 Thursday night at American Airlines Center. The Mavs (19-11) had a five-game winning streak snapped the previous night at Utah.

“All hell hadn’t broken loose because we lost two games in a row and we hadn’t played our best,” coach Avery Johnson cautioned.

But the two losses were particularly alarming considering how the Mavs lost. Cleveland’s domination inside eclipsed what the Jazz did. The Cavaliers enjoyed a 42-20 points-in-the-paint advantage less than 24 hours after Utah held a 16-point edge in the same category.

“That’s not our game and something that we’re consistently addressing,” said Johnson, who picked up a technical 22 seconds into the game.

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