DALLAS -- You can call the loss by the Dallas Mavericks to Minnesota Timberwolves a missed opportunity.

Mavericks head coach rick Carlisle summarized it this way: 'They were aggressive,' Carlisle said. 'We were sloppy. We're a team that's not a perfect team.'

So sloppy were the Mavericks that they were down by 13 at the end of the first quarter, and trailed by 22 during the second.

'Playing a first quarter like that on your home court in a game this meaningful is a bad sign for us right now,' Carlisle said.

'We've been trying to do better. Some games we get out to fast starts and others we get out to slow starts,' said Mavericks forward Brandan Wright. 'I think we have the advantage schedule-wise, we've just got to play it out.'

'This sport and this game of NBA basketball is as much a first quarter game as it is a fourth quarter game,' Carlisle said.

The Mavericks were hoping that this eight-game homestand would help them solidify their position in the postseason. But after two games so far, they've won one and lost one.

Next up Friday are the Denver Nuggets; a team they've played three times so far this year with no wins to show for it.

'Denver has been a very tough matchup for us,' Carlisle said. 'They quick!'

Carlisle said his team has lost momentum after their latest setback, and said he's beginning sense a pattern.

'Our losses have had the same characteristics, and we've got to correct that,' he said.

And with only 13 games left in the regular season, those corrections have to be made in a hurry.


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