The San Antonio Spurs visit the Dallas Mavericks
Well, hello again, Spurs.
The Mavs have gotten plenty of second chances, and deserved about a quarter of them. Tonight they’ll get another, when they get crack at the Spurs and attempt to save some face after their latest embarassment. Cuban is pissed, Carlisle is pissed, and I sure hope that each player is taking it personally.
It’s definitely a good thing that Duncan, Ginobili, and co. are closer to full-strength. We’ve learned not to take any win for granted (see Oklahoma City Thunder sans Durant and Green). My one singular hope for this game is that if Timmy and Manu are thrown into the mix, the Mavs will show. Maaaaaaavericks, come out to plaaaaaaaay. Something like that.
I don’t think a win is enough. A good thrashing would be welcome, or at the very least a solid victory backed by consistent effort. No more taking halves off, or quarters off, or defensive sequences off. There’s been enough procrastinating this season, and it’s time for the Mavs to buckle down if they plan to amount for anything. Mark Cuban insists that this team has the talent to win in the playoffs, and if that’s true they need to show it. Or maybe just show that they can take a very important game against a division rival seriously. Is that so much to ask?
Semi-related: I’ve been exchanging emails with Chip Crain from 3 Shades of Blue over this post that I linked to yesterday, and one of the topics of discussion has been the Mavs’ blueprint for success. It’s no secret that the Mavs were a team constructed with the sole purpose of beating the Spurs. Based on the success San Antonio has enjoyed, I don’t think that’s a crazy proposition; as recently as last season (and possibly even this season), the “road to the championship went through San Antonio.” But when Pau Gasol was traded to L.A., all of that changed. Phoenix and Dallas both freaked out, and as a result the Suns went ‘big’ in terms of style of play and salary commitments, and Dallas went ‘big’ in terms of reputation and supposed impact. You don’t need me to remind you what we gave up so Kidd could get his kicks on I-75, but along with Harris we surrendered our tunnel vision on the Spurs. The Lakers became the new team to beat, and the new barometer for success. These match-ups with SanAn are where we feel Harris’ absence more than ever, and that ghost will haunt the Mavs until they find a true replacement to give Tony Parker nightmares. Just something to keep in mind as Parker inevitably blows by Kidd to the basket about a dozen times.