The Maddening Mavericks

I give up.

I admit, I expected the Dallas Mavericks to lose at Phoenix, lose at Portland, beat Golden State and get blown out by the Lakers. I went 0-4. In typically unpredictable, unsettling fashion, they went 2-2.

I'll go on Channel 52 tonight at 6:30 - fingers crossed - and fake like I can accurately dissect these Mavs. But who am I kidding? I can't know them if they don't know their own identity.

Are they a championship caliber team? A talented group with ultimately debilitating psychological scars? Just one big, inconsistent, entertaining tease? Or all of the above?

After impressive, inspiring wins against the Suns and Blazers, the Mavs kicked us in the crotch with a despicable, deja vu loss to the crappy Warriors Friday night. Then yesterday they wasted seven 3-pointers by Jason Terry and a fourth-quarter lead in Los Angeles.

The final verdict: The Mavericks are who we thought they were: A team that we still don't know.

Amongst the mixed signals ...

*Coach Rick Carlisle treated yesterday's 7-point loss to the Lakers like a playoff game, shortening his lineup to an 8-man rotation. But one of those eight wasn't Ryan Hollins? The Mavs wouldn't have beaten Phoenix without him. On the final three games of the trip he played a total of seven minutes. WTF?

*To me, Antoine Wright is getting too many minutes. He's a decent player, but he is not the answer at shooting guard. While he was on the floor during the four-game trip the Mavs had a minus-31 scoring margin. He was negative in every game. Against the more athletic Warriors I would've loved to have seen Gerald Green at least get a chance. Right?

*Despite the Mavs' claims to the contrary, raise your hand if you think they'll actually miss Devean George?

*James Singleton is starting to win me over with his length, activity and aggressiveness. Still, Pau Gasol went right over the top of him for Sunday's biggest rebound.

*Speaking of rebounds, you can expect to go 0-2 when you have a minus-18 margin and allow an ugodly 33 offensive rebounds in consecutive outings.

*J.J. Barea can be effective. But also embarrassing. I lost count, but he had at least four of  his silly, finesse floaters swatted off the backboard for fast-break-starting blocked shots against Golden State.

*Still, a successful trip, no? A 2-2 record and the knowledge that your 2-3 zone defense has the potential to give the Lakers fits in a possible first-round playoff matchup.

But then again, I could be wrong.

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