The Boston Celtics visit the Dallas Mavericks
Hey guys: remember this? Yeah. That sucked. So after the Celtics pantsed us in front of a national television audience, the Mavs should come ready to play tonight. I hope. I really, really hope.
This game is pretty tricky, though. The Mavs’ second best player is looking at his hand with a frown, which means that tonight’s contest is dangerously approaching “moral victory” territory. Going in, it’s important that we set up some boundaries. If the Mavs have a repeat performance, that’s probably not a good thing. But what if the Mavs have a first half repeat, before mounting a second-half resurgence? What if the Mavs hang tough throughout, but ultimately lose by 7 or 8? What if Dallas has its heart broken on a buzzer-beater from Paul Pierce? In light of Terry’s injuries, are these still ’victories?’
The big question is whether or not Ray Allen’s injury has an equally detrimental effect as the loss of Jason Terry. I’m thinking not. On one hand, the Mavs have Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, and Jason Kidd, who in a purely hypothetical world should be able to make up for JET’s production. Contrast that with Boston, where Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are basically left to fend for themselves. The problem with that logic is the assumption that these two teams are on the same plane mentally. Yes, the Mavs are on the up-and-up, and we’re all hopeful that they’ll charge down the home stretch leaving corpses in their wake. But these are the Boston Celtics. They have their own problems, but they still boast a championship caliber defense and a confidence level that would blow the top off the American Airlines Center.
Put all of this in a blender and it could wind up as a nice smoothie of low expectations. The Mavs have a much better reason to get blown out tonight than they did a few weeks ago. One can only hope that the Mavs’ momentum will win the day, marking a season-long high for their play and their swag. It’s revenge versus a pretext for disappointment, and one can only hope that Dirk woke up this morning in a vengeful mood.