Sports teams in Dallas are known for many things. The Cowboys? D’uh, winning! The Rangers? Lots of hitting. The Stars? Why is there is hockey in Dallas? And being from Western New York, let me just say that his foot was in the crease!!! All of these teams, including the Mavericks, have one thing in common in addition to where they call home. All of these teams are filled with drama. The Cowboys have been a sideshow since purchased by Jerry Jones. Dez Bryant is the latest character to cause a rucus. The backup tight end is calling for a QB competition when, and if, the season ever begins.
The Rangers have been drama queens since Tom Hicks bought the team and then paid Alex Rodriguez over $250 million, an amount that effectively killed any chance of building a contender. Crushed by debt, Hicks put the team up for sale, with the resolution coming down to more drama as Mark Cuban battled Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg for control of the team. Ryan and company won and the team won the Pennant. Then the team humiliated their most tenured, successful hitter, Michael Young, with trade rumors that never came to pass. Then, seemingly out of the blue, Chuck Greenberg was ousted from management.
The Stars are facing bankruptcy and no one really cares. And, of course, we have our beloved Dallas Mavericks. Drama has been a part of this franchise ever since they were purchased by billionaire Mark Cuban. Cuban is infamous for berating the officiating, drawing more than a few fines, and supporting a lot of charitable causes. I can’t help but wonder if there are not a few charities that root for bad calls against the Mavs, hoping that another outburst will be forthcoming.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like Mark Cuban. He brings passion, energy, excitement, and a commitment to winning to the team. No one cares more about bringing a championship to Dallas than Mark Cuban. This season has been one that has been filled with drama on the court as well. The Mavs have had incredible hot streaks, winning 18 out of 19 games. They have been in a four game losing streak of late, endangering their spot as the third seed. Four games is not a long streak, but the timing of it could not be much worse.
The last 18 games, while the team is 9-9, has been marked with an abundance of turnovers, fouls, poor shooting, and slow starts. And last night was no exception. After one quarter, the Mavs trailed the Los Angeles Clippers by a score 35-19, while shooting an unbelievably bad 27% from the field. The lone bright spot in the Lone Star state was the performance of surprise starter Corey Brewer. Brewer was inserted into the starting lineup at the shooting guard, as Roddy Beaubois slip over to take the point in place of Jason Kidd. Kidd did not play for the second consecutive game as Rick Carlisle continues to prove his belief that rest and the health of the team is critical to playoff success.
Brewer logged 30 minutes, putting up 20 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, with four assists, four steals, and one block. Brewer continues to hustle while playing great defense while on the court. And it is becoming contagious. And looking down the road a bit, his size would be a wonderful asset against the huge guards of the Portland Trail Blazers.
As the second quarter began, after a Jason Terry turnover led to a timeout, Terry came to the bench ripping into teammate J.J. Barea. The altercation continued to intensify until coaches intervened, separating the two players. Terry refused to calm down, drawing the ire of Carlisle, who then booted Jet from the huddle. Terry took a seat at the end of the bench where Cuban then attempted to calm the team’s second leading scorer down. Terry would spend the rest of the night in that seat, playing only 8 minutes and scoring nothing. Not the kind of night that is going to help him reclaim the Sixth man award this year.
But this tirade infused some energy into this lifeless team. The Mavs went on a tear, closing the gap to 54-47 at the half. Even though the Clippers had the lead, it was obvious that the Mavs had the momentum. And they never looked back, winning 107-96. Dirk added 20 points, 8 boards, 7 assists, and 1 steal. Tyson Chandler, making his return from a two-game layoff due to a back contusion, went 6-6 from the field, scoring 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. The Mavs, playing with a renewed passion, even dominated in the paint, out-scoring the Clips 58-42.
Shawn Marion also had a decent game, adding 13 points, 10 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. J.J. Barea also hit double-digits in points, contributing 15 while Peja Stoyakovic added 10.
The Mavericks have a day off to regroup and to sort through all that took place last night. We shall see if the outburst from Jason Terry is already over and done with or if there is a bigger problem present. It was good to see the team play with energy and passion finally. It is unfortunate that it took a blowup to get them there. Phoenix comes to town on Sunday. Which team will show up? The one that started the game against the Clippers or the one that finished it. One thing is for sure, the drama will continue…