Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots against the defense of Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott (32) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 18, 2013, in Atlanta. Dallas won 127-113. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Analysis: Atlanta Hawks Forget How to Defend Against Dallas Mavericks

Mar 18, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Elton Brand (42) is fouled by Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith (5) on his watt to the basket during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks came into tonight against the lottery-bound Dallas Mavericks having won their last three games. On a rainy Atlanta night, the Hawks lost behind a sloppy defensive effort 127-113.

Larry Drew deployed the two point guard lineup with Jeff Teague once again inserted as a starter.

Early on, the Mavs had pinpoint accuracy from ranges as long as the beards on their chins. They built an early 9 point lead behind 6-8 shooting from beyond the arc. Poor perimeter pick and roll recovery on the ball handler was the cause. This was never remedied or even lessened.

Anthony Morrow also made his return to Atlanta but hardly made a mark on the box score.

The great Dirk Nowitzki, most likely in the twilight of his career, was one of many Mavericks that shot better than 50%. He was a tough cover, as always, with his limitless range and underrated passing ability.

Most disappointing was the rebounding effort without Zaza Pachulia. The Hawks got beat 39-31 and Dallas clearly made it a team objective to crash the offensive glass (10-5 margin). That was easy to do when the Hawks forget how to box out. There were few available rebounds since the ball went through the net with such regularity.

Amid the rubble that the Hawks used to call basketball, Kyle Korver was able to stretch his streak to 60 straight games with a made three pointer

The Hawks gave up 68 points in the first half, which was the most given up by the Hawks in a half this season. Darren Collison led the way with 8-9 shooting and a number of awkward looking jumpers. He finished 10-14 and the trio of Nowitzki, OJ Mayo and Mike James (who? Mike James) each went 7-11.

The Hawks had to fly in from Brooklyn the night before, which may have contributed to the numerous mental lapses, mostly occurring on defense. Atlanta was all around sluggish, slow and apathetic towards helping on defense. If a guy got beat, the Mavs either had an open three pointer or an open dunk.

The Hawks head down the stretch into the playoffs with this stinky loss to try to shower away. It may be just a blip on the screen, as the Hawks can prove Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks, but it is was a listless performance that should not be repeated the rest of the season. If this turns into a trend, then shield your eyes Hawks fans, but nothing aside from the last 48 minutes would indicate that it’s a likely omen. Shake it off and live to play another day.

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