By Mike Fisher

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBSDFW.COM) – The Charlotte Bobcats had 60 points in the paint, totaled 42 assists, made 12 3-pointers and owned leads as large as 27 in recording a rare victory over the previously hot Dallas Mavericks, 114-89.

“We deserved to get thrashed,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “And we did.”

Once upon a time, the Mavericks could do no wrong, statistically-speaking, when it comes to the Bobcats. Entering Tuesday’s visit to Charlotte, the Mavs’ all-time record against these kittens was 16-1.

But here? Statistically-speaking, the Mavs could do little right, the only good news being that Dirk Nowitzki made yet another bionic return from an ankle injury to finish the game, scoring 16 points in 24 minutes and vowing to be on the court for Wednesday’s butt end of a back-to-back at Indiana.

“(I) got loose there pretty good in the second half,” said Dirk of returning to the floor following the first-half injury. “But it really didn’t matter. We weren’t good enough, and no matter what we did defensively we were a step slow to everything. So it didn’t matter whether I was going to play or not.”

But for Dirk’s attempts at heroics, this may qualify as the worst game of the season for the Mavs, who have attained their good 31-22 record in erratic fashion — or don’t we remember that just six days ago in Memphis they registered a win that qualified as the best game of the season?

Sixty points in the paint means domination inside. Twelve treys (a Bobcats season-high) means domination outside. And all those assists?

“You give up 42 assists, that’s really not getting it done defensively,” Carlisle said. “We didn’t put up a lot of resistance defensively.”

Know that the Bobcats — with 23 wins, two more than they had all last season — are not an offensive juggernaut. Al Jefferson (30 points) carries a heavy load for a club that scores only 95 points per game.

But Dallas had Big Al-level problems guarding pretty much everybody in a Bobcats uni. The Bobcats also got 22 off the bench from Anthony Tolliver, 15 from guard Gerald Henderson and 10 from center Bismack Biyombo. Josh McRoberts had a career-high with 13 assists, while Kemba Walker had nine and Ramon Sessions dished out eight. The Mavs? They’re just hoping Dirk’s ankle and Devin Harris’ knee are okay.

Said Carlisle, “We got beat in the first quarter, the second quarter, the third quarter and the fourth quarter.”

How fitting that on a night when Charlotte looked like twice the team Dallas is, Bobcats owner Michael Jordan’s wife gave birth to the couple’s identical twin daughters!

All is not lost for the Mavs, despite the ending of a five-game win streak; this is an ugly bump, but it’s still a bump. The larger issue is the distinct possibility of going into the All-Star Break on a two-game losing skid thanks to the much larger and more ominous bump that is next: Wednesday in Indiana against a Pacers team that might be the NBA’s best.

“Today was definitely a step back,” Nowitzki said. “You know, we’ve got to finish strong before the break now and hopefully have a good outing tomorrow against a very, very good team.”

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