Was enjoying some second-hand smoke from Dale Hansen's seegar down in Victory Plaza before last night's Mavs-Spurs showdown. We were discussing this week's Observer cover story, owner Mark Cuban's unprecedented outburst, how Dale claims he's "too shy" to serve as Grand Marshal for the Observer's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Greenville (swear), and our thoughts on the impending game's outcome.
Dale: No doubt the Mavs win. Maybe even easy, by 12.
Me: Weird. I agree.
It wasn't easy. But the 107-102 survival was necessary. Not a must-win, but more a must-unloss. If the Mavs didn't respond to Cuban kicking them in the ass, all hope was lost.
So now we know - when properly motivated - the Mavs can beat good teams at home. Tonight we find out if they have the talent and/or temperament to win an even tougher game on the road.
Look, yesterday was one of the greatest days in Metroplex sports in a long time. Mavs over Spurs + Terrell Owens cut was quite the giddy doubleheader.
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SHOW ME HOW
But, as for the Mavs, beating the Spurs will only be meaningful if they fortify it with a win - or at the very least, a gutsy effort in a competitive game - against the New Orleans Hornets. A blowout loss and Cuban's outburst will have done nothing more than produce a one-game aberration in a see-saw, so-so season.
The Mavs will be tired (their top five players each logged at least 31 minutes last night). They'll be on the road (they haven't beaten a good Western Conference team away from home since Christmas). They're playing a West playoff team (against which they are only 9-23 this season.)
Sorry, don't wanna hear it.
If Cuban's warning shot truly changed hearts and minds, the Mavs will win tonight, or at least convince us they want to win. If not, keep last night's highlights handy to watch during Dallas' appearance in the lottery.