With the Dallas Mavericks mired in a 2-10 start, a little visit from the King provided a measuring stick as to how far away this team is from rejoining the NBA’s elite.
Unfortunately, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers reminded them just how far off they are as the Mavs fell 111-104 at American Airlines Center on Saturday night.
Kevin Love poured in 29 points, James added 19 and J.R. Smith scored 17 from the shadows for Cleveland (6-7).
Despite a season-long struggle after halftime, the Mavs (2-11) shook off a miserable third quarter with a late rally that helped draw them within one point twice in the closing stretch.
Dallas shot just 33 percent in the third quarter and never maintained consistent momentum to make an established run in the final 12 minutes.
“I haven’t looked through at the whole thing yet. I know we had a lot of good looks that we really like that didn’t go down,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “A lot of times it turns into a make-or-miss thing. We got hit on the boards which hurt us. I thought we overcame a frustrating period where shots weren’t going down and they were getting some calls.”
The fireworks started when Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews knocked down back-to-back 3s with about 7 minutes remaining in the game.