The Other Side: Dallas Mavericks
Ah yes, Dallas and Washington on a Sunday. Just sounds right, huh? Maybe for football.
As if this season hasn't done enough to hammer home the point, the Washington Wizards will get another reminder of how quickly windows can close in this league when the Dallas Mavericks come to town this evening. It was just two years ago when the Mavericks were the darlings of the NBA (sort of), with talk of possibly winning 70 games, before they settled for just 67 wins. Then Dallas faced the Golden State Warriors in the first round, and the Mavericks have been struggling to find its way ever since.
You really can't hold on to the past, because we live in the present. Dallas hasn't made the precipitous drop that the Wizards have, but ever since the regular season ended in 2007, the Mavericks are no longer discussed among the elite teams in the Western Conference. Even the move they made last February to hold onto relevance - acquiring Jason Kidd from New Jersey - has backfired with Devin Harris emerging as the Eastern Conference's best scoring point guard (while Gilbert Arenas continues to recover from is third knee surgery).
The Mavericks (14-11) have gone 12-4 since starting the season 2-7 and hopes to finish a three-game East Coast road trip with a winning record tonight in Washington. They already defeated a struggling Toronto team, and got smoked by Harris in New Jersey. If the season ended today, the Mavericks would miss the playoffs. Here's what else you need to know about Dallas' professional basketball team:
1. Jason Kidd Hasn't Been Bad, But. . .
As mentioned before, Devin Harris has been truly incredible with the New Jersey Nets. When Jason Kidd returned to New Jersey, where he spent six seasons and went to two NBA Finals with Eddie Jordan serving as an assistant, he received a warm, standing ovation. But after Harris - who also is a former Wizard - torched the Mavericks for 41 points and 13 assists on Friday, fans at Izod Center actually chanted, "Thank you, Cuban! Thank you, Cuban!" Here's the video, in case you missed it:
Kidd has been pretty good this season - he's averaging 9.6 points, 8.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds - but it's pretty safe to say that New Jersey got the better of that deal. As one wise NBA observer told me last week when describing Harris's bright future, "Dallas will never be able to get those 10 years back."
2. Jason Terry Is Shooting For All-Star Game
The Mavericks are assured of at least one all-star, with Dirk Nowitzki continuing to put up ridiculous numbers. But unless they go on an impressive run, they likely won't get two all-stars. Josh Howard made the team two years ago, but he's been limited by a sprained ankle most of the season and just returned last week in Toronto. That won't keep Jason Terry from making a push for his first all-star appearance in Phoenix, near his college alma mater, Arizona. He ranks third among Western Conference guards in scoring, behind Kobe Bryant and Brandon Roy, at 21.1 points per game.
3. J.J. Barea Starts
If you have some time today, check out this excellent read on the little point guard from Puerto Rico, who is starting in the backcourt with Jason Kidd. And don't bother looking for former Wizard Jerry Stackhouse on the floor. He's out indefinitely with a foot injury.
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