After years and years of Shawn Bradleys and Erick Dampiers, it seemed for a few brief moments this summer that the Dallas Mavericks had finally found themselves a center who could catch balls AND play defense--restricted free agent Marcin Gortat of the Orlando Magic. But when Orlando decided to match Dallas' handsome offer and pay their stud backup center starter-type money, while at the same time stealing away free agent Maverick Brandon Bass, Mavs fans everywhere felt the type of pain we hadn't experienced since Golden State and Don Nelson took us out in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. It was as if we'd all received a swift "kick in the Gortats," to paraphrase the fine fellas at But it wasn't a total disaster of an off-season, as we did manage to land Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden, a fine aesthetic compliment to Erick Dampier and his '70s-era PTSD look (some guys have nightmares about Charlie in the trees, some guys have nightmares about being posterized by Shaq). See how your new and improved Dallas Mavericks stack up against the cursed Orlando Magic in the Mavs' preseason opener 7:30 p.m. Monday at the AAC. Visit for tickets.
Mon., Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., 2009

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