The Other Side: Dallas Mavericks


Yo, J. Did you just say, you pledge allegiance to the Mavs? (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)


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."

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban fired back at Nets fans and Dirk Nowitzki said he'd do the trade again, but no matter how well Harris plays, he likely won't replicate what Kidd did with the Nets.


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.

By Michael Lee |  December 21, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Previous: 76ers 109, Wizards 103 | Next: Mavericks at Wizards

Comments

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The most important thing for the Wiz regarding the Mavs is that they start two big men. Will we adjust? Of course not.

Regarding the Wiz, Blatche is now playing better than Jamison for the year according to 82games.com. He also has the highest field goal percentage of the Wiz.

Maybe there is a lesson here.

Dallas (Damp and Dirk) would be a good learning experience for McGee and Blatche.

DeS ain't cutting it. We're 4-20. Unless this is addressed, the Wiz are playing with one hand tied behind their back. It's painful to watch him on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

Posted by: Izman | December 21, 2008 9:35 AM

Come on, Michael. Devin Harris was never a Wizard. They picked him FOR Dallas. If they were going to keep the pick, they would have picked someone else, as they already had Arenas, Hughes, Dixon, and Blake (and Stackhouse) at the guard position. Its 4 years later and the Wiz have gotten to the playoffs 4 times with a guy who has averaged 20 and 10 for each of the years.

Posted by: bowiemd1 | December 21, 2008 9:43 AM

The most important thing for the Wiz regarding the Mavs is that they start two big men. Will we adjust? Of course not.

Posted by: Izman | December 21, 2008 9:35 AM

Izman - All Tabscott is going to do is counter with Song. at the 5 spot. You are right. He will come up with another excuse why he can't play McGee.

He will also come up with another excuse why he keeps playing Stevenson all of those minutes. I am really getting closer to not looking at any games anymore.

Why keep playing the vets (i.e. Song., Stevenson and AJ) if you are going to keep losing? I am going to do like one poster said he was going to do. He said he would Tivo the games and look at who played. If he sees the Vets got most of the minutes he will not watch the game. Looks like that is what I am going to start doing...

Posted by: BulletsFever | December 21, 2008 2:28 PM

If Etaps keeps his promise of driving to the basket first offense, inside out offense, and the players do it with vigor, we might have a chance.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | December 21, 2008 3:17 PM

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