DALLAS -- Yes, the Milwaukee Bucks were playing their eighth game in 12 days Saturday night.
But that's no excuse for a flat performance that resulted in a 34-point second-half deficit before the Dallas Mavericks settled for a 106-93 victory at the American Airlines Center.
The game never was in doubt from the time Mavericks point guard Jose Calderon began raining three-pointers in the opening quarter.
And when Calderon got done, forward Brandan Wright dominated the Bucks while playing in his first game of the season after returning from a shoulder injury.
It was an embarrassing effort from a Bucks team that gave up a late lead to lose to the Chicago Bulls, 91-90, at home Friday night.
"We just came in here and laid an egg," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "Very low energy, which I was very disappointed about.
"After a game like tonight, one of the things I'm going to have to do is really go with the energy guys. We're already short-handed as it is.
"I'm just going to have to go with those guys who are going to provide me with some kind of energy and a competitive spirit."
Asked if that meant rookies could soon be in the Bucks starting lineup, Drew said, "Very strongly, yes. I don't care if we did have to travel. This is the NBA, and we are paid to do that.
"And if we can't come out and put forth the effort, if it means going with younger guys, I'll go with younger guys."
Rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo played 35 minutes off the bench and contributed 13 points, nine rebounds and one block.
Another rookie, point guard Nate Wolters, added six points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.
Second-year center John Henson led the Bucks with 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds but shook his head over the blowout loss.
"I think just a combination of injuries, games, travel," Henson said. "I think we finally hit that wall. Fortunately it was the last game (in the stretch).
"We've got a couple days, and I don't think we have any four (games) in five (days) for a little.
"It was just a rough day for us. We've got to regroup."
The Mavericks played without forward Dirk Nowitzki, the 11-time all-star, and coach Rick Carlisle was absent. Both were out due to illness.
But Dallas (14-10) was so dominant that former Bucks guard Monta Ellis played just 23 minutes and scored seven points.
Wright led the Mavericks with 19 points, Calderon added 18, and veteran Vince Carter had 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
Former Marquette star Jae Crowder started at small forward and had eight points and two steals.
It was garbage time midway through the third quarter, and only a 17-2 fourth-quarter run by the Bucks reserves made the score look respectable.
"It's really frustrating," said Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, who moved into the starting lineup but had just two points in 19 minutes.
"We played like individuals. We try to play hard, but they build the lead because we couldn't execute the plays well at the right time.
"It's going to snowball and get bigger and bigger. Now you think about it all the time, and it's really frustrating."
Milwaukee (5-19) finished its run of eight games in 12 days with a 2-6 record, with the two victories coming on the road against Chicago and Washington.
The Bucks went 0-4 at home during the stretch.
"Seeing how we responded to that (schedule) is very disappointing," Drew said.
Drew was mystified at Calderon getting off to such a hot start to put the sellout crowd of 19,973 in a festive mood.
Carter also hit a pair of threes in the quarter, and Dallas raced to a 38-26 lead after one period and a 59-41 halftime advantage.
"We just didn't play him," Drew said of Calderon, the Spanish national team star, getting free past the arc. "We talked about it.
"He made threes against us in the first game we played against them. We were very methodical in getting out to him at the three-point line and he nailed his first couple.
"That's not acceptable. We didn't defend him."
Bucks reserve guard Gary Neal, who played well Friday against Chicago, was limited to 13 minutes and did not return in the second half, when he was bothered again by the plantar fasciitis injury in his left foot.
The Bucks outscored the Mavericks, 32-13, in the final quarter, and Wright and Carter actually went back in the game to stem the rally.
"It got a little tight, but we got Vince back in there at the end," said Mavericks assistant Monte Mathis, who subbed for Carlisle.
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