ESPN Analyst Rips Mavs' Defense: 'They Don't Play Hard Enough!

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All season, the Dallas Mavericks have had trouble on defense, and ESPN expert Tim Legler said that will determine whether they make it far in the playoffs or have to leave early.

ESPN's NBA commentator Tim Legler has been one of the Dallas Mavericks' most supportive analysts this season, especially after acquiring P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford at the trade deadline.   

But even he has struggled to see the Mavs (34-27) lose four of their last five games. On ESPN's First Take with Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, the former point guard criticized the Mavs' defense in the last five games.  

He also said that the team's bad defense could make the difference between going far in the playoffs and being eliminated in the first round or play-in.    

As Legler said on First Take, "they don't put it on the line defensively the way you have to in order to be seen as a real contender."  

On offense, they have everything they need every night to compete with any team in this league...They aren't as good at defense as they need to be.Legler later said, "If they can just leave a little skin on the floor, they have a real chance to make a run at the Western Conference Finals if they do it."  

If they don't, they leave early, and guys' great statistics every night mean nothing. Even though Dallas' offense has been outstanding for most of the season, its defense has been terrible, allowing 127.5 points per game in its last five games.   

During its seven-game winning streak, Dallas looked like a totally different team. During that time, it gave up only 105.43 points per game, and no team scored more than 110 points against them.   

As long as Luke Doncic and Kyrie Irving play that well together on defense, Dallas will be one of the most scary teams in the Western Conference.  

That's the defense the Mavs need to play every night if they want to stay dangerous if they make the playoffs. Legler said that the Mavs would likely leave quickly.

if they can't get back to playing their best on defense, that may happen. The team will have to make choices about its future and how to fix what's holding it back.   

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