That thing about hope in the spring? Yeah, not so much.
There was that hope surrounding the Dallas Mavericks going into their first round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The hope that the defending NBA champions could prove they have the heart of one in the one of the most ridiculous NBA seasons ever. That they could “flip the switch” and defend their title. Ain’t happening. Only switch flipping is going to be the NBA lights being turned off inside the American Airlines Center until the next NBA season.
Forget the big brother versus little brother battle and geographic intrigue in this first round matchup. It boils down to one team versus another and one team being the better one. That team is the Thunder.
Ultimately, this Mavericks squad is what it is: a six-games-over-500 squad that struggles on the road particularly against good opponents. The Mavs finished the season 36-30. They went 13-20 on the road and didn’t beat a team that had a winning percentage better than .600 away from the American Airlines Center. They struggled in close games. Going 7-8 in contests decided by three points or fewer.
All of these trends we are seeing in the Mavericks first two games against the Thunder. Road losses, not executing well in the closing moments of the games and looking just a step slow.
Don’t start getting all bunnies and tulips optimistic about the Mavs coming back to Dallas for the next two games. They might get a win but at this point, to channel Rangers Ron Washington, this team just do what it do. And, this postseason, that means first round elimination.
Think about it, though. Given the crazy the 66-game regular season and how absurd the schedule was, did you really expect much more?