Mavericks' fierce two-word motto illustrates why they're dangerous contenders

Apr 5, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA;  Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) reacts during the
Apr 5, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (21) reacts during the / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks reached the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago. This was the first time Dallas had gone that far in the playoffs since the historic 2011 playoff run. One reason the team succeeded in the postseason was because of the way they finished the season.

The Mavs closed out the final ten games of the 2021-22 year with a 7-3 record. The team also had a savvy backcourt that helped carry the load in Jalen Brunson and Luka Doncic.

Flash forward to now and history seems to be repeating itself. Dallas has gone 11-1 in their past 12 games, as they clinched a playoff spot Tuesday. This guarantees the team strays away from the Play-In Tournament.

So, what's changed for the Mavs this season?

One difference has been the team's mentality. Dallas feeds off each other's energy and does a great job picking each other up. The chemistry is clearly much stronger than last year, and it's evident as of late.

Mavericks' motto of 'handle business' illustrates why they're dangerous contenders

Newcomer Daniel Gafford recently spoke about the team's chemistry Tuesday, as Dallas beat the Charlotte Hornets by 26 points.

The main thing Gafford reiterated was Dallas' ability to "handle business." The team has done an excellent job of this in the past couple of games, and this message continues to ring througout the locker room.

For example, think back to the March 29 game against the Sacramento Kings. The team was down by nine points in the fourth quarter, however, they went on a 12-0 run to help complete a comeback. Dante Exum helped seal the deal as he hit a game-winning 3-pointer with less than 27 seconds remaining.

This would be the first of many comebacks for the Mavs. Dallas completed a 22-point comeback Sunday against the Houston Rockets. Exum again stole the show, hitting a game-tying 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

Much of Dallas' recent success can be attributed to Gafford. The Mavs' new center has done an excellent job protecting the rim. This month, he is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Last week against the Warriors, he had one of his best games, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking three shots.

His aggression has helped the team close out games down the stretch. Last night, he scored a season-high 26 points on 100 percent shooting.

Another way Dallas has taken care of business is through the play of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. The Mavs duo has been on a roll the past couple of weeks. Against the Rockets, both players combined for 85 points to help complete a rally.

Irving averages 31.8 points per game in April, while Doncic scores 30.7. The chemistry between the two players has been untouchable. They do a good job supporting one another, as they have helped the team take care of games down the stretch.

If Dallas can continue sticking to their motto of "handle business," then it's no question how far they can go.

Stay tuned for all the latest on Daniel Gafford, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and the Dallas Mavericks.