Dirk did it.
As he's done for the last decade around here, Dirk Nowitzki snapped out of ugly shooting night just in time to lift the Dallas Mavericks to an improbable, pulsating victory. This time - mired in a 3-for-16 night - he hit two 3-pointers late in regulation and and then a trademark fadeaway jumper and four free throws in overtime to seal Dallas' victory last night in Memphis.
The win helped the Mavs - who host East elite Orlando tonight at American Airlines Center - keep the inside track on the West's No. 2 seed, and also elevated them to a level of sustained success achieved only by the NBA's best, most storied franchises.
10 consecutive seasons of 50+ wins and playoff appearances is nice and all. But do the Mavs belong in this exclusive club?
The three other teams to boast a decade of 50 wins/playoffs:
*Bill Russell's Boston Celtics ('60s)
*Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers ('80s)
*Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs ('00s)
When Mark Cuban took ownership the Mav-wrecks were in the midst of 10 consecutive losing seasons - highlighted by 11- and 13-win disasters in the mid-90s. The transformation has been remarkable.
But without a championship, does it merely validate the Mavs as the NBA's most successful losers?