Improbably, the Mavericks have managed to claw their way back into the playoff hunt after a season-long funk. With 11 games to go, they are a game-and-a-half out of the final Western Conference playoff slot, currently occupied by the Lakers, and have been gaining fast, winning nine of their last 12.
This also puts them one game shy of .500, which means Dirk and company's supremely righteous beards are in grave danger. Seven players entered into a pact in February, swearing off razors until the team reached the break-even point.
Which brings us to tonight's matchup against the Indiana Pacers. ESPN-Dallas reported yesterday that guard OJ Mayo is bringing his barber, who he knows only as Omar, to the game just in case of a win.
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"Man, everyone is going to have their clippers in their locker Thursday and hopefully you guys can watch us shave them off," Mayo told ESPN's Tim McMahon. "The barber will be here. We're going to leave him tickets and give ourselves a chance to shave them off.
"I want to make sure to do it right. I don't want to leave no patches."
The shearing will, of course, be bittersweet. On the one hand, it will be a tangible sign that the Mavs have turned their season around. On the other hand, it means no more Deadspin photo essays on the evolution of Dirk's beard.