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Definition of Defeat

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There were obviously two extreme runs in there which lead to the defeat (15-0 Dallas in the first/second, 18-0 Dallas in the third/fourth). But let's focus on the final offensive spurt, the string from which there was no return.

Score: 103-102 Dallas, 2 min 18 seconds remaining.

Jason Terry scores a triple, 106-102.

Brad Miller misses a long jumper. Not a bad shot.

Kevin Martin steals the ball on a bad Jason Kidd pass.

Francisco Garcia misses a long two, but Ron Artest gets the rebound and draws the shooting foul. He hits both FTs. 106-104.

Dirk Nowitzki scores a short little jumper. 108-104.

Artest does not hesistate, misses a layup.

Josh Howard turnover.

Garcia misses a shot from the third row. Artest offensive rebound, blown layup.

Kidd fouled, makes first, misses second, Stackhouse rebounds, Beno Udrih hacks him. Stack hits both. 111-104.

Beno misses a shot from the second row.

Stack fouled, hits both. 113-104. Game over, more or less.

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The Mavericks didn't hit any difficult shots. They didn't have to. The Kings didn't get any easy shots. It... didn't seem to be an objective.

It's hard to complain -- the offense was excellent overall. The backcourt's numbers -- 50 points on 55% shooting, 19 FTAs, 10 assists, 2 turnovers -- were tremendous. You would prefer Artest to get his 22 points in fewer than 23 FGAs; you would prefer someone to join Martin and Beno at the line occasionally. But offense was not -- is not -- the central problem. It is, has been, and will be defense.

And for this defense, there are no fixes in sight.