The following statement’s said as a joke, but then a lot of truth is said in jest: If the Dallas Mavericks, as assembled, were playing in 2006, they’d be unstoppable.
Dirk Nowitzki dropped 26.6 points per game that year (a career high) and Vince Carter could claim 24.4. Shawn Marion? Destroying stat sheets to the tune of 21.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals per game (those last three were rounded up). Even Monta Ellis would be contributing as a rookie; he put up 6.8 points per contest, not bad for a second-round pick out of high school.
We’ll leave it to others to further detail the efforts of the Dallas front office, but the kind of alchemy and witchcraft being conducted by Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle and co. is astounding. The team isn’t just doing an admirable job at keeping their aging names relevant, they’re fighting for a playoff spot in the uber-competetive Western Conference. Punching their ticket to such an exclusive party would be a victory in and of itself.
Tuesday night marked another step closer, as the Mavs claimed an impressive overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sometimes the game just comes down to star-versus star, and Kevin Durant just couldn’t shine bright enough, 43 points be damned. Dirk’s 32 points (seven in overtime), 10 rebounds and six assists won, and so did the Mavs. Another step closer to the playoffs. Considering their current position as 8th seed – separated from 9th-ranked Phoenix by a half a game – they’ll need quite a few more steps to make it.