In this edition of Mavericks Late Night, we take a look back 10 years after the worst playoff series in Dallas Mavericks history. What could have happened if the Mavs had been able to fend off the Golden State Warriors in the 2007 NBA Finals?
An entire decade has passed since the Dallas Mavericks fell victim to one of the worst losses in NBA Playoff history. The 67-15 Mavs were not only the 1-seed in the West and in the entire NBA, they were also coming off a heartbreaking loss the previous season as the heavy favorites of the NBA Finals against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Despite falling to that peaking-at-the-right-time Heat team, the Mavs came back strong the next season ready to avenge their loss. First stop on that road to vengeance was, the 42-40 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were a strong 8-seed who had won 9 of their last 10 games of the season to land in the playoffs ahead of the 40-42 LA Clippers.
Dallas had struggled with the Warriors more than any other team during the regular season, actually going 0-3 in the regular season series. Still, this was the playoffs and this was the best team in the league with the best player in the league and one of the best coaches in the league. Of course we were going to win.
Well…we all know how it ended.
So let’s take a look at a scenario that almost played out for the Mavs and could have changed the course of history. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers finished with the same record at the end of the season. However, divisional record made the difference and the Lakers landed the 7-seed.
Had these seeds been switched, the Mavs would have faced off against the Lakers, while the Warriors would have met the Phoenix Suns in the first round. The Warriors went 1-3 in the regular season that year and would have likely been beat by the Suns in this case as well. Meanwhile, the Mavs owned the Lakers 3-1 in the regular season series, including 2 blowout wins.
In this scenario, the Mavs advance to the 2nd round.
In the 2nd round, Dallas would face a tough Utah Jazz team who actually played very well against the Mavs this year. The Jazz led the series 2-1 in the regular season, but Dallas normally plays historically well against the Utah Jazz. Although the numbers may not reflect it, I would give the edge to Dallas in this series, although it would be a battle.
This would bring the Mavs to interstate rival, San Antonio Spurs. Dallas owned the regular season series 3-1, losing only the season opener to Tony Parker and the Spurs. The Spurs hit a stride during the playoffs, but the Mavs played some great basketball against the Spurs all season, with neither team ever scoring more than 97 points in a game during the regular season.
If Dallas keeps that streak up, they could have definitely taken down the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. Setting up what would have been the first Finals matchup between Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James.
LeBron would have been the star of the show just as he actually was against the Spurs, but the Cavs were just too shorthanded to beat Dallas in any playoff series. Mavs win.
Obviously this is all a hypothetical and the 2007 NBA Playoffs need to just go back to being buried in out minds for as long as possible, but it is interesting to think about that one game made all the difference to who the Mavs played in the first round. And possibly ruined the Mavericks chance at their very first NBA title.
It is impossible to speculate as to how this could have changed the Mavericks franchise in the long run and how hellbent they may have been when 2010-11 came around but it is interesting to think about, nonetheless.