When the news came around that Dallas Maverick superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, was going to have knee surgery and miss part of the beginning of the season, everyone held their breath and then pretty much wrote off the Mavericks 2012-2013 season. Not very many people really felt that the young squad would be able to maintain any type of contention and would fall too deep into the losing bracket before Dirk returned to play.
I have to admit, I felt that they would have trouble being able to keep up and contend and while they awaited for their leader to return, would they still be in the thick of the pack to still be able to contend for another run at a championship. I had my doubts, but there again, I’m a die hard Maverick fan and kept telling everyone and am still telling everyone that I really feel that they would be able to keep their lips above water; and they have, to some degree.
Here we are 14 games into the season and after the ugly loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, they are at 7-7, which puts them in 3rd place in the Southwest Division and in a three-way tie with the Lakers and Utah for 8th place in the Western Conference. Now I know a lot of people would think, “oh that’s not good, they’re done”, but you have to look at it this way, we are only 14 games into the season and that means that you have 68 games left and Dirk is on the back side of his rehab and is so ready to return.
Granted there are games that they should have won that they did not and then there are games you think, wow, they pulled that one off; case in point, the Knicks game. If Dallas would have approached the Laker game with the same intensity and tenacity as they did and play as they did against the Knicks, the Lakers would have an 0-5 road record and the Mavs would not have had their lunch handed to them by the hot shooting Lakers.
It’s hard to win a game when you let your opponent shoot over 48% from the field compared to your 37% and then you also let them shoot almost 55% from behind the arc to your 35.7%, you have very slim chances in all of kingdom come to win a game and that’s what the Mavericks let happen against the Lakers. It was as if the Lakers were the high school varsity team and the Mavericks were the jr. high team trying to learn some skills.
At one point, the Lakers had a 37 point lead on the Mavs and I know once you get down by that many points, it’s hard to come back from that. Granted they did try harder in the second half, but once the Lakers got the big jump and caught the Mavs basically with their pants down and took the first quarter 36-23 and let the Lakers take a 65-38 lead into halftime, you might as well just come out and put it all on the line and see what happens.
Now the second half was a better half for the Mavericks where they outscored the Lakers 51-50, but the damage was already done on the first half and it was all over but the final whistle. The question for Rick Carlisle now is, how does he go on the road and help his team to recoup from that? It’s simple, forget about what has already happened and focus on what is right in front of you.
The Mavericks head into Philadelphia to face the 76’ers before they continue on to Chicago to face the Bulls for a back-to-back starting on Tuesday before they return home to face Detroit at home on Saturday night. Now Philly is sitting in the 3rd place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with an 8-6 record behind the Knicks and the Nets and are 6-4 of their last ten games, but they are also without Andrew Bynum for a while, so maybe Dallas can take advantage of that match up. Then Chicago is 6-6 so far and are 4-6 in their last 10 games, same as Dallas, and are still without their star Derrick Rose.
What Dallas has to do and needs to do, is to work on their strengths and take advantage of their opponents weaknesses at this point. They have proven that they can beat the best teams as well as those that are not the best, but they have to believe in it themselves. Sports are as much as mental game as they are a physical game and you have to believe in yourself and your teammates more than others believe in you and you have to trust your teammates as much as they have to trust in you.
I hope everyone had a great and safe Thanksgiving and is ready to take on the rest of the season.
With that, I will bid you all a good night and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!