Dirk Nowitzki

The question isn’t what ails the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, but can they fix it in time to make another run at the playoffs in this 66-game season?

Their offense showed signs of life Monday, then grew anemic after the first quarter, and the defense was uneven throughout the 115-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Denver guard Ty Lawson led all scorers with 27 points. “There are a bunch of good players on this team and I knew that we were going to come out strong,” Lawson said.

It was the second blowout loss in a row at home for the Mavericks, who fell 105-94 to the Miami Heat on Sunday. In that game, Dallas trailed by as many as 35 points.

“We look old, slow and out of shape,” Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “I still think this team has a lot of potential. We just need to work. … We probably needed extra weeks of training camp. But we don’t have it so the young teams, the athletic teams, look better right now than we do.”

– Via J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today