Dallas Mavericks: Can We Believe?

The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since their big trade with the Washington Wizards. They have currently reeled off 12 straight victories, and are within three games of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference.There is only one problem though.

Can we believe in the Mavericks?

There is reason to plant seeds of doubt in Dallas. In 2006, the Mavs reached the NBA Finals, and had a 2-0 lead on the Miami Heat. But the Heat reeled off four straight victories and ended up as NBA Champions. The series defeat left the Mavericks with a bitter taste in their mouths and a newfound motivation to get back to the Finals and claim what they felt was theirs.

Then came the ultimate embarrassment.

The Mavericks entered the 2006-07 NBA season with that goal of winning the NBA Championship, and ended up with a league best (and franchise best 67-15 record). The end result: a 4-2 series loss to the Golden State Warriors and becoming the first #8 seed to beat a #1 seed in a best-of-seven series, and pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history, and regarding the Dallas Mavericks as one of the biggest choke artists in league history.

After another disappointing first round exit at the hands of the New Orleans Hornets in 2008 that signified of the Avery Johnson era, the Mavs turned to Rick Carlisle for the 2008-09 season, and the Mavs got eliminated in the second round by the Denver Nuggets, it took a trade deadline move in the 2009-10 season that sent Josh Howard, James Singleton, and Drew Gooden to Washington and in exchange, the Mavericks got Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. Since the trade, the Mavericks are 12-1 (only loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder) and have elevated themselves into a legitimate contender in the Western Conference. Butler is a scorer who can take the pressure of Dirk Nowitzki, Haywood is a strong rebounder and very durable and can handle the post along w/ Erick Dampier and allows Nowitzki to be a 7′ SF, and Stevenson has the mindset of an enforcer, and his defense and scoring spurts are definitely welcome. Put these elements, and Jason Kidd and Nowitzki together, and a decent bench, and the Mavericks have a chance to do some serious damage. The trade worked out for Josh Howard as well, as he got out of Dallas (although his season ended w/ an ACL injury) and improved the overall team chemistry in the Mavericks organization.

The Mavericks are legit contenders, but we have seen them buckle under the pressure of being a legit contender. They have this season to exercise demons, but there is only one question.

Are they up for the challenge, and can this be a team to believe in?


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