Unfortunately, on this particular Sunday, there is a game going on that I feel deserves my attention. Unfortunately, I have to GameCast it on ESPN.com.
The Lakers and the Mavericks have just tipped off at the American Airlines Center, and the game is already heated. At last check – 2:38pm CST.
Dallas 6, LA Lakers 7 – 1st period – 8:06 left on the clock.
This game is critical. The Mavs have completely ignored everything the critics said after they barely escaped the Blazers. They’re up 3-0 on the Lakers in the Western Conference Semi’s, with a chance to win the series in Dallas.
Could this get any more interesting?
How about the fact that the Mavericks haven’t been a trusted playoff contender since they gave the 2006 NBA title to the Miami Heat? Granted, myself, along with many other people, feel that Danny Crawford had something to do with that, but alas, that’s really not important right now.
The next year, the Mavericks finished with the best record in basketball. The 67-15 record was also one of the best in NBA history. They were upset in the first round by the 8th seed Golden State Warriors 4-2. The series was marred with mistakes and freak plays, including a half-court prayer by Warriors guard Barton Davis before halftime of game 3.
In 2008, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets owned the Mavericks for the entirety of the first-round series between the two. In Game 1, Paul’s playoff debut, he scored 35, assisted 10, and jacked the ball 4 times to stymie the Mavericks in a brilliant come-from-behind victory in The Big Easy. The Mavs wouldn’t even show life until Game 3, when 2008’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year was inserted into the starting lineup. It would prove to be Dallas’ only win of the series, as Paul, center Tyson Chandler, and forward David West played well down the stretch. Game 5 sealed the deal, as Paul triple-doubled and left the Mavericks bitter with a second consecutive first-round exit.
In 2009, the Mavs blew out the three-seeded rival San Antonio Spurs 4-1 and escaped the first-round for the first time in three years. In the Western Conference Semis, however, the Denver Nuggets flipped the table completely. The Mavericks fell 4-1, thanks to the strong play of Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, and Chauncey Billups.
Last year, the tumbling Mavericks won 55 games and the Southwest Division title. Sitting as the two-seed, they were once again paired up with the San Antonio Spurs. Lightning didn’t strike twice, as the Spurs upended the Mavericks and forced them out of the playoffs in the first round for the third time in four years. The Mavs’ two lone wins of the series came at home in Game 1 and Game 5 by a combined spread of +28. The four Spurs wins came on a spread of +31.
They just couldn’t close games out.
Over the last four years, the Mavericks are 10-17 in the playoffs. Also, over the last four years, the Los Angeles Lakers are 47-25, and haven’t lost a playoff series since falling in the 2008 NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers came into the 2011 playoffs looking for their fourth consecutive NBA Finals appearance and third consecutive win. Judging by the events right now, that doesn’t seem too likely.
With four-and-a-half minutes until halftime, the Mavericks are up 53-36.