DALLAS — Coach Jason Kidd called out the maturity of the Dallas Mavericks after they were on the wrong end of the biggest comeback of the NBA season Sunday afternoon.
The Mavs managed to blow a 27-point lead en route to a 111-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at the American Airlines Center. NBA teams were 138-0 after leading by that much this season before the Mavs’ meltdown, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. “I’m not the savior here. I’m not playing,” Kidd said when asked why he used only one timeout in the second and third quarters as the lead was slipping away. “I’m watching, just like you guys.
“As a team, we’ve got to mature. … We’ve got to grow up — if we want to win a championship. There’s no young team that’s ever won a championship, mentally or physically.”
The Mavs’ starting lineup featured four players who are 30 or older. The exception is 23-year-old superstar Luka Doncic. While Kidd did not specifically call out Doncic, he also emphasized that the Mavs were affected by disagreements with the officials.
As he often does, Doncic consistently argued calls and non-calls throughout the course of the game, several times while the ball was in play.
“Just focus on that play,” Kidd said. “Can’t get distracted with the whistle, and just keep playing. It just happens that way. We’ve seen a lot of basketball games. When you have big leads, you know which way the whistle is going to go.”
Doncic finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but he struggled after dominating the first quarter (14 points, six rebounds and three assists). Doncic had as many turnovers as field goals in the last three quarters, when he was 5-of-14 from the floor.
“We lost our rhythm in the sense of just playing the game and not worrying about the other elements,” Kidd said. “We were playing at a high level on both ends, offensively and defensively, and then we just got a little distracted with the whistle. We’ve just got to be better with that.”
Asked if he allowed his disagreements with officials to become a distraction, Doncic said, “It’s probably true.”
However, Doncic didn’t think a loss of composure was the primary reason the Mavs suffered their third loss in four games that he has played with fellow All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, Dallas’ recent blockbuster trade acquisition.
“You can say that, but we still had a big lead,” Doncic said. “Sometimes you’re going to lose it, but I think we just relaxed a little bit and we’ve got to work on that.”
Doncic made an uncharacteristic mental blunder on the game’s most critical possession. On an inbounds play coming out of a timeout with 18.1 seconds remaining and the Mavs trailing by three points, Doncic committed a turnover after trying to save the ball from going over the halfcourt line instead of simply going into the backcourt to catch Irving’s pass intentionally thrown away from Lakers defend Jarred Vanderbilt.
“It’s my bad,” Doncic said. “I totally forgot you can go backcourt. That was my mistake.”