10. It was just 21 months ago that I was in Oklahoma City witnessing the Mavericks’ remarkable Game 4 comeback in the West Finals that propelled Dallas to a series win and, shortly thereafter, their first NBA title. After watching the Mavs get throttled by 21 in the same building Monday night, it feels 21 years ago.
9. Dirk Nowitzki tweeted on Tuesday: “When I’m frustrated Nesta Robert always comes through for me.” Sorry, but even Bob Marley can’t “Yeah mon” the pain from being 20-28 and Lottery-bound.
8. Despite the downward spiral, no, tanking games isn’t an option. Says GM Donnie Nelson on 105.3 The Fan Tuesday afternoon, “No, nope. We’re all about winning.”
7. I know the Mavs play 7 of their next 8 at home, but at this point they are closer to last place in the West than they are 8th. Seriously, this will be the first spring since 2001 without at least a hint of hope at a magical run during the NBA Playoffs.
6. You know the really sucky part, even as a guy who loves the Mavs more than the Cowboys or Rangers, I’m not extremely bothered by all this because I was never fully invested in this roster. Veteran band-aids on 1-year contacts like Chris Kaman and Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones and Darren Collison just don’t exude commitment. They’re not good today, and they won’t be here tomorrow. Shrug. Sad.
5. Mark Cuban’s tweet after the dismantling in OKC: “That was tough but our Mavs will keep fighting.” Charrrrrrge?
4. He’s missed 29 games due to knee surgery and a leg injury, and we still are waiting on Dirk to be Dirk. As the Mavs prepare for game No. 49 against Portland, he’s had exactly 3 20-point games and is yet to top 30. No doubt, he’s lost a step. Just as worrisome, his body language and quotes mirror those of the Mavs’ frustrated fandom more and more with each loss.
3. Most discouraging aspect of the Mavs’ morose season: The lack of competitive fire. Dallas leads the NBA with 9 losses by 20+ points. Asked about his team’s effort after the OKC loss, head coach Rick Carlisle said “I’ll defer.” Yikes.
2. The trade deadline is Feb. 21. The Mavs will be sellers of players, but buyers of cap room. Or will it be vice-versa? If a team wants to dump a top-tier player because of his big contract, the Mavs can absorb him. But if a team needs a player with an expiring contract, Dallas can deal that asset as well. In other words, they’re desperate for help in either direction. I say desperate. The Mavs call it “opportunistic.” The Lakers, by the way, say they will not trade Dwight Howard. So his only route to Dallas would be via free agency this summer. Don’t hold your breath.
1. After the Mavs’ championship in 2011 the NBA immediately locked out the players. Feeling handcuffed by a new CBA, Mavs’ management decided not to re-sign title nucleus players like Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea in exchange for salary-cap flexibility and a chance to land a big fish like Chris Paul or Deron Williams or Howard. But now the Mavs are under .500 and conducting a nightly, fruitless search for a point guard and a center, while Chandler is grabbing 20+ rebounds on three consecutive nights for the Knicks. Mavs fans have major angst over the wrong direction taken at the 2011 fork in the road. Donnie? “No, you don’t decide to storm the beach and then halfway up it look back and wonder if you’ve chosen the wrong beach. We still think we’re on the right path. We’ve just got to see this thing through.” To where? At this point none of us are sure.
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