After attending last Tuesday's sluggish opener at American Airlines Center, I didn't exactly think the Dallas Mavericks were a hideous outfit that would miss the playoffs. But I certainly didn't see them beating the Los Angeles Lakers.
Maybe: 1) The Washington Wizards don't suck. 2) The Mavs don't either.
Hung out Sunday afternoon at a party that included Mavs' radio voice Chuck Cooperstein. Fresh back from L.A. where the Mavs completed an unprecedented weekend sweep of the Lakers and Clippers, he was honestly geeked about his club.
"I really like what I see in this team," said Coop. "It's got the potential to be really, really good."
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After Friday night, you dare disagree?
Playing without Josh Howard, the Mavs hammered the defending champs, 94-80, at Staples Center. I mean, really took it to them. And when the Lakers made a little late-game run that conjured images of the 30-point debacle in 2002, Jason Kidd fed Shawn Marion on three pick-and-roll hoops and - voila - credibility restored.
Still way too early to know what these Mavs will ultimately be. But the ability - and reality - of beating Kobe Bryant in his house is a refreshing new piece to the puzzle.