Can the Dallas Mavericks write off the last game against the Houston Rockets as a dress rehearsal? Unfortunately, no.
But while the last Sunday's 136-103 debacle in Houston still counts as just one game regardless of the final margin, it was still a game the Mavs desperately needed and couldn't get.
In most viewers' minds, the Mavs needed to win Sunday and the following game Wednesday at the American Airlines Center to get back in the playoff hunt. Instead, Dallas is now 5 1/2 games back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is now held by Utah as the Rockets have vaulted into the seventh slot.
It doesn't make things easier that the Mavs have two more teams between them, including the Lakers and their star-studded team that might finally be finding out a way to get along (they had gotten back to .500 before their most recent loss at Oklahoma).
For now, all the Mavs can do is head into tonight's game with that old adage that blowouts are quickly forgotten in the locker room.
Which means hopefully they can forget they were outscored 72-42 in the second half of a game that they once led by 10 points. And saw three players finish with 20 points, led by Chandler Parsons' 32.