Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd sat down at his media availability following his team’s 130-122 loss to the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night with an agenda – his team’s defense.
Or lack thereof.
“You gotta play defense,” Kidd told reporters. “And right now, we’re not playing any defense.”
Wednesday night’s loss was the third in a row for Dallas and the third consecutive game in which the Mavericks allowed at least 130 points.
The defense that catapulted Dallas to the Western Conference Finals in 2022 is a distant memory with the Mavericks’ 25th in defensive rating through 46 games.
“If it’s with this personnel, you got to keep asking or demanding for those guys to play defense,” Kidd said when asked how to fix the defense. “It’s not just the offensive end. Tonight, we give up 130, a team shot 57%. It’s a shootaround.
“In this league, if you do that, no matter if you have Luka or Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] or LeBron [James], you’re going to lose. It doesn’t matter how many points you score. you’re always going to be short. So until we put a better effort into playing defense and understanding what we have to do, then we’re going to score 120, but we’re going to give up 130 or 140. One night, we might give up 150. But we’ll be fine because we scored, so it won’t look too bad.”
Offensively, the Mavericks shot 52.4% from the field and knocked down 16 three-pointers. Luka Doncic poured in 30 points and Dallas got 42 combined points from Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood.
But Dallas allowed eight Atlanta players to score in double figures, including a 30-point performance from Dejounte Murray.
Doncic agreed with Kidd’s assessment, saying Dallas has to match their offensive effort on the defensive side of the court.
“We’re good on offense. We just have to make sure we put the same effort on defense,” Doncic said.
The loss dropped Dallas to 24-22 on the season, good for the fifth spot in the Western Conference.