Wednesday evening I hit the sack early. Devastated to a point of leaving my 46 fantasy baseball teams unchecked until morning (if you know me, a rarity), Green Day’s angry at the world music blasting from my IHome, the prepped razor and shaving cream stored back into their cabinets and maybe a few pills to help guide me to a dreamland where the Mavericks – with everything on the line – did not just lose to the last-place Phoenix Suns at home, officially ending their 2012-2013 Playoff aspirations.
When I woke up in the morning to realize that such an event actually occurred, my heart sank to where my stomach should have been had it not also sank to the bottom of my dread.
When the Lakers and a season high 47 Kobe Bryant points defeated the Portland Trail Blazers at roughly 1137 Dallas time, I was already in aforementioned dreamland where the inevitability that just became a reality was literally not on my mind. Pavel Podkolzin and the fat lady belched in unison, officially ending the Mavs streak of a dozen straight postseason appearances.Yes, Dirk Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of the season and yes, Mike James was the best point guard Rick Carlisle had at his disposal, but in the end the Mavericks pride and never-say-die attitude so reminiscent of the 2011 championship squad gave the Mavericks the only thing they could ask for – a chance. Unfortunately, instead of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler and a deep bench you had Darren Collison, OJ Mayo, Chris Kaman, and a roster spot reserved for 10-day contract experiments.
Pride and determination can get you far at most levels of athletic competition, but not in the National Basketball Association – especially when the makeup of your team leaves so very little room for error and unfortunately is full of players prone to error.The whole beard thing was a stepping stone to making a playoff push and the Mavs were just a win away from eliminating the former and focusing on the latter – ya know, the one that matters.
Chance 1 came earlier than even the optimists expected on March 28th vs. Indiana. After hanging in the first half, the Pacers dismantled the Mavericks in the 2nd half and won by 25.
A vintage Dirk performance (35 points and the game winning 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds) gave the Mavericks yet another chance to reach .500 and because things always seem to work out this way, it was a National TV game @ the Lakers.
The Lakers retired Shaq’s jersey at the half and unfortunately Dallas brought an effort to Staples Center honoring the now TNT Inside the NBA analyst with a performance matching his analysis. Bland, disappointing and funny but not “haha” funny rather “goodness they’re still trying” funny. Final score was 101-81. Only Brandan Wright had a green +/- with an advantage of two.
But “haha they’re still trying” carried on through this last Wednesday with the lowly, and I mean lowly, Phoenix Suns coming to town following their 10th straight loss resulted by a basket interference call. Yeah, lowly.
No one wanted to jinx anything, but the Suns at home seemed like a done deal for the beards and finally an even 39-39 record.
But no, Wesley Johnson made everything, Goran Dragic displayed everything the Mavericks didn’t have at point guard and for Pavel’s sake Luis Scola and PJ Tucker (yes, former Longhorn) were grabbing every rebound in crunch time. The Mavs certainly came out flat exemplified by a very early technical on Coach Carlisle and while NBA games are hardly won in the first quarter, they can certainly be lost. Dirk had good looks early but they didn’t fall, however it was OJ Mayo’s 2-10 shooting in a game-high 38 minutes that really hurt Dallas from beginning to end and inspired such a tweet from yours truly.
Even Jermaine O’Neal, thought to have decomposed somewhere near Boston last year, had 7 blocked shots.
Flat from beginning to end, an uninspiring and quite frankly one of the franchise’s most embarrassing moments ever put the record at 38-40 and solidified the Mavericks first spot in the lottery since 2000, when Dallas chose Etan Thomas 12th. (don’t worry it was a turrible turrible draft – although Dallas acquired fan favorite and Texas Legends Head Coach Eduardo Najera from Houston @ pick 38)So who will they pick in 2013′s lottery, if the pick indeed remains in Dallas’ hands by June 27 and not, say, Sacramento/Seattle in a Demarcus Cousins trade……………..If not who will represent the team at the Lottery? Mark Cuban loves the spotlight, but this is one I see him handing off.
I’ll be at the game tonight vs. Denver, the first of my lifetime where I lay eyes in person on a Mavericks team that won’t be playing past game 82 on April 17th…which leads me to a quick retrospect on what the world was like before Mark Cuban and Dirk Nowitzki made the Dallas Mavericks a perennial contender.
The Seattle SuperSonics were the 7th seed, nobody in Oklahoma cared about the NBA and Kevin Durant was 11 years old.
There were no Bobcats and Michael Jordan never missed the playoffs. Since, both have happened.
The Toronto Raptors entered the NBA, joining the Vancouver Grizzlies (who were in the Mavs’ Midwest division at the time) as the NBA’s second Canadian team.
Reggie Miller was annoying in the NBA Finals instead of on TV
Kobe and Shaq won the first of their three consecutive NBA championships
and a few non-basketball related notes from #TheLastTimeTheMavsDidntMakeThePlayoffs
Bill Gates steps aside as chief executive of Microsoft
AT&T Park in San Francisco, Minute Maid Park in Houston, and Comerica Park in Detroit open