Dallas Mavericks

Mr. Hollins' Opus

Let's don't call Laura Miller and her parade plans just yet, but the Mavericks may have found something. A luxury they haven't enjoyed since, oh, forever. Or at least since Roy Tarpley.

A mobile, athletic big man.

It was - who else? - Dirk Nowitizki's calm, fadeaway 18-footer that beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 95-93, just moments ago. That's nothing new. We've counted on and relied upon Dirk's dramatics for years now.

But I'm more intrigued by newcomer Ryan Hollins.

I ... have a dream ...

 ... that Ryan Hollins may be the real deal.

Acquired in the trade for DeSagana Diop, the 7-foot Hollins made a dazzling debut this afternoon. Offensively he attacked the basket with thunderous dunks. Defensively he blocked shots and altered others. He's one of those players with a live body and an imposing wing span.

In other words, he's the antithesis of Erick Dampier.

One play in the fourth quarter gave me goosebumpy hope. Jason Kidd ran a pick-and-roll with Hollins. After the pick Hollins glided toward the hoop, catching Kidd's lob pass in mid-air and ferociously flushing it.

If you didn't know better, it was Chris Paul-to-Tyson Chandler.

Maybe it was a one-game wonder and maybe Dallas' win won't mean diddly-poo in the big picture. But I saw some life, some emotion today. I saw a player the likes of which Dallas hasn't had in years.

With Hollins here and Josh Howard back and Dirk (the game-winner) and Jason Terry (two emphatic dunks) and Kidd (six 3-pointers) all clicking, I saw just how good the Mavericks can still be.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt