See, this isn’t anything new. The Dallas Mavericks have lost in the first round of the playoffs three of the last four seasons. However, this year was supposed to be different. Contrary to popular opinion, the Mavs losing to Golden State and New Orleans wasn’t that big a shock at all. When they lost to Denver last season, it wasn’t that big a shock either. This year though…this wasn’t supposed to happen.
The Mavs made the steal of the trade deadline, by getting Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson from the Washington Wizards. At the time, I praised the trade, and felt things were finally in place to make a serious run, and get back to the NBA Finals. As a matter of fact, this team was hailed as being better than the team that made the Finals in 2006, and for a while there, the Mavs made believers out of a significant amount of people. They came into the playoffs as the number two seed, finishing only behind The Lake Show. They had a legitimate MVP candidate in Dirk, a bona-fide Robin to Dirk’s Batman in Caron Butler, a quality PG, and a strong bench. They were scheduled to play the Spurs, a team they handled during the regular season, and pretty much were picked to, at the worst, make the Western Conference Finals. The series started off well, with the Mavs winning Game One. Being at the game, I was witness to a terrific performance by Dirk, a monstrous performance by Butler, decent enough defense on Tim Duncan, and figured this thing wouldn’t go long at all.
Then Game Two happened. No big deal; split the games, and head on back to San Antone, and steal one...
...except it got worse in Game Three.
Then the damn wheels fell off in Game Four. In a game that saw Tim Duncan finish with four points, the Mavericks found a way to piss another winnable game away, thanks to a God-awful start and an even worse finish, as well as 29 points from George Hill of all people; not Ginobili; not Tony Parker. George…bleeping…Hill. Understand that I'll give Hill his props, but there's no reason for the Mavs to have this man be the reason you lose a playoff game. It was ridiculous, unexplainable, unacceptable, and pretty much all I needed to see to come to the realization that all the talk of a great playoff run was just that: talk. By the end of Game Four, Dirk was pretty much exhausted, Rick Carlisle had no earthly clue what he was doing with the rotation, and Jason Terry was worth about as much as the dirt under my fingernails. Seriously, JT was absolutely pathetic this series, and nothing more than a dude with a jersey on, and for that, I’ll never refer to him as The Jet again. For a team who was terrific on the road all season long, they couldn’t win one freaking game in San Antonio. It’s baffling and infuriating to no end. It just doesn’t make any sense, whatsoever.
There are some things that simply are not supposed to happen in NBA basketball. A number one seed should never, under any circumstances, lose to an eight seed. Also, a number two seed should rarely lose to a seven, yet the Mavericks have found a way to accomplish both in the past three years. It’s evident the Spurs aren’t your typical seven seed, but they’ve been up and down all season, and with that, there’s no conceivable reason or rationale for the Mavericks losing to them.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen something more disgraceful in my entire life, as seeing this Mavericks team go home early, and it’s gotten to the point that doubt is creeping into my mind, as to whether the Mavericks will ever win a championship. The only ones who played worth a damn were Dirk and The Butler. Roddy B. did his thing, but Carlisle decided not to unleash the man until last night, so that’s a moot point. Sure, the Mavs played hard, but they still lost, and that's all that matters. All the pieces were here to do it, and they still go home, and go home early at that. There’s no desire on my part to fix them, or figure out what they need to do. Taking a page out of high school terminology, the only thing left to do is to head onto off-season football.