Mavs notebook: Close shaves and soccer talk

BOSTON – The Mavericks on the eve of Thanksgiving returned to the scene of one of their truly clutch moments from last season.

For those who don’t remember, last year’s game against the Celtics at TD Garden ended with Spencer Dinwiddie’s three-pointer with under 10 seconds to go.

It was the first of two game-winners Dinwiddie would hit as he did it again in Brooklyn three days later.

Those Moments embodied the late-game success the Mavericks had last season, for the most part.

This year, it’s been different, to say the least. The Mavericks have had a lot of close games, but not nearly as much luck closing them out, although their record in games decided by three points or fewer is 4-3.

“We’ve had a lot of close games, so far we just haven’t made the shot or got the stop,” Coach Jason Kidd said. “It happens. You would like it not to happen, but in 82 games, sometimes you come up short.

“Looking at those shots, we can probably put Luka or other guys in a better position to get better shots and defensively just being able to get the stop. There could be a Matchup you could look at doing.”

All of those concerns are part of the learning process, Kidd said.

“That’s why you play 82 games, to figure out those answers,” he said. “If you’re lucky enough to participate in the next season, you have those answers to be able to use.”

World Cup trash-talking: The Mavericks have one of the most international-laden teams in the NBA and many of their players are staunch supporters of their national soccer teams that are playing in the World Cup in Qatar.

So when Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia, Maxi Kleber took the chance to needle Argentine Facu Campazzo about it.

Then, it came back to bite him when Germany was defeated Wednesday by Japan. Campazzo, Davis Bertans and Luka Dončić were dishing it out to Kleber after Germany lost to Japan.

“Yeah, I probably deserved it,” Kleber, who grew up in Wurzburg, Germany, said. “I was giving him a lot of trash talk. But in our defense, we usually start slow and build up, so I’m not worried about our team.”

Dončić, by the way, follows the World Cup very closely, by the way.

“I watch every game I can,” they said. “I love football, or soccer as you call it here.”

He said he’s rooting for Serbia since his native Slovenia didn’t qualify. They quickly dismissed any thought of the US having a shot at the whole thing.

Briefly: Maxi Kleber missed his fourth consecutive game with lower back soreness. He took a hard fall last week and said Wednesday he was looking forward to going through a full practice Friday in Toronto before resuming action. “It was scary when it happened,” they said. “I’m hoping to get through a full practice, then get back to it.” Kidd said: “His workouts have been good, so hopefully we can have him practice Friday and see if he can go over the weekend.” . . . Thursday is Oscar Robertson’s 84thth birthday. “That’s a pretty cool birthday on Thanksgiving,” Kidd said. “You’re talking about somebody who could play today. He could fill up the stat sheet, was a winner. The triple-double was something I thought would never happen again, averaging it for a season, but we saw that with Russ (Westbrook). But his impact in the game on and off the floor is huge.”

Twitter: @ESefko

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