Sometimes good isn’t good enough.

The Dallas Mavericks couldn’t overcome the Los Angeles Clippers’ defensive efforts in a 109-99 loss Monday night.

This loss is detrimental for Dallas, as the team works to gain footing in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. What hurt even more for the Mavs was that the Clippers played on the second-leg of a back-to-back. Dallas came off a day’s rest, but it wasn’t enough as the team started slowly and finished slowly in Monday’s game. Let’s get into the game’s observations.

Key observations:

1.) Luka Doncic was superhuman, but late foul-trouble mitigated his impact. He finished the game with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 16 assists. The 16 assists tied a season-high for Doncic. However, late in the game, he had key misses that changed the complexion of the late Mavericks offensive rally.

Still, Doncic had incredible plays like this:

and this:

And lastly this:

2.) Kristaps Porzingis’ explosive third quarter gave Mavs fans a glimpse of what is possible. He scored 13 of his 22 in the frame, shooting 71 percent from the field and 60 percent from three. Though glimpses are nice, now is the time for things to come together for Dallas. There are a finite amount of games the Mavs can afford to lose. And with the Warriors right on Dallas’ heels, consistency throughout the full 48-minute game needs to be Porzingis’ priority.

3.) Closing games for Dallas still looks like an issue. At this point in the season expecting Dallas to close games efficiently should be the norm. However, that still isn’t the case. The Mavericks defense allowed the Clippers to shoot 80 percent from three in the final quarter. It also gave up gashing scores and offensive rebounds to Kawhi Leonard, who remained in check for most of the game.

Dallas’ under two-minute offense turned into a three-point chucking contest. Instead of controlled possessions, the offense leveled to contested threes that had little-to-no chance of going in. Dallas needs to be better offensively during the game’s crucial moments. If the Mavericks can’t figure that out, they will watch the playoffs from the outside looking in.

Looking ahead:

The good news for Dallas is that there is round two. The Clippers and Mavericks play again on Wednesday. Fully expect that Rick Carlisle and his team work out the ugly offensive difficulties seen in Monday’s game.

Dallas’ climb up the Western Conference standings has to come by way of beating good teams. There is no way around that truth.

Related reading on the Mavericks. 

Feature image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

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