Whew! Mavs Escape Cavs. Barely.

I covered the Dallas Mavericks in the early 1990s when they won 11 and 13 games in back-to-back seasons. It wasn't fun. For anyone.

In '93 the Mav-wrecks lost 20 consecutive games, so I can imagine the despair these days with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the wake of losing LeBron James, they've deteriorated into one of the worst teams in NBA history.

After last night's 99-96 loss to the Mavs at American Airlines Center, they've now lost a league-record 25 straight games and 35 of their last 36. This is the stuff of the Washington Generals.

For Cleveland, it was almost relief. For Dallas, this close to the ultimate humiliation.

And let's face it, the Mavs were lucky.

The Mavs trailed by seven early, led by as much as 15 in the middle and then survived late. After a Dirk Nowitzki turnover with 10 seconds left, Cleveland's Anthony Parker lined up a straightaway 3-pointer from 25 feet that hit the front rim and danced around before falling off and being fumbled back to Cleveland on the perimeter.

But when he found the ball in his hands with time expiring, Antawn Jamison decided not to shoot, but to pass. To Jamario Moon?

Even though they've won nine straight and Peja Stojakovic finally made an appearance last night (a rusty 1 of 6 on 3-pointers), still not convinced all is right with the Mavs. The win in Boston over the weekend was impressive, but last night was more luck than skill.

In a related story, have I been too immersed in the Super Bowl swamp to miss the absence of TV color analyst Bob Ortegel? I'll get us an answer.

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