The Maddening Mavericks
I give up.
I admit, I expected the Dallas Mavericks to lose at Phoenix, lose at Portland, beat Golden State and get blown out by the Lakers. I went 0-4. In typically unpredictable, unsettling fashion, they went 2-2.
I'll go on Channel 52 tonight at 6:30 - fingers crossed - and fake like I can accurately dissect these Mavs. But who am I kidding? I can't know them if they don't know their own identity.
Are they a championship caliber team? A talented group with ultimately debilitating psychological scars? Just one big, inconsistent, entertaining tease? Or all of the above?
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After impressive, inspiring wins against the Suns and Blazers, the Mavs kicked us in the crotch with a despicable, deja vu loss to the crappy Warriors Friday night. Then yesterday they wasted seven 3-pointers by Jason Terry and a fourth-quarter lead in Los Angeles.
The final verdict: The Mavericks are who we thought they were: A team that we still don't know.
Amongst the mixed signals ...
*Coach Rick Carlisle treated yesterday's 7-point loss to the Lakers like a playoff game, shortening his lineup to an 8-man rotation. But one of those eight wasn't Ryan Hollins? The Mavs wouldn't have beaten Phoenix without him. On the final three games of the trip he played a total of seven minutes. WTF?
*To me, Antoine Wright is getting too many minutes. He's a decent player, but he is not the answer at shooting guard. While he was on the floor during the four-game trip the Mavs had a minus-31 scoring margin. He was negative in every game. Against the more athletic Warriors I would've loved to have seen Gerald Green at least get a chance. Right?
*Despite the Mavs' claims to the contrary, raise your hand if you think they'll actually miss Devean George?
*James Singleton is starting to win me over with his length, activity and aggressiveness. Still, Pau Gasol went right over the top of him for Sunday's biggest rebound.
*Speaking of rebounds, you can expect to go 0-2 when you have a minus-18 margin and allow an ugodly 33 offensive rebounds in consecutive outings.
*J.J. Barea can be effective. But also embarrassing. I lost count, but he had at least four of his silly, finesse floaters swatted off the backboard for fast-break-starting blocked shots against Golden State.
*Still, a successful trip, no? A 2-2 record and the knowledge that your 2-3 zone defense has the potential to give the Lakers fits in a possible first-round playoff matchup.
But then again, I could be wrong.
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