So, as you know, no team in history has ever come back to win after being down 3-0 in a series, which is the exact boat the defending champs are in.
But one might ask themselves: ‘why are the Mavs in this position in the first place?’ Some say it is because they’re “too old and too slow” while others claim it is because they’ve lost countless key components to their championship team last year while blaming it on their owner, Mark Cuban, who thought it would be a good idea to let them all go to “clear cap space” for the upcoming free agency.
One of the biggest losses was Tyson Chandler, who has moved on to play for the Knicks and is ironically in the same boat as the Mavs. Although the Mavs have somehow been a better defensive team statistically without Chandler, they sure do miss him in the paint. Dallas has struggled with rebounds and second chance points, and Shawn Marion can only do so much. To try and fill the void, the Mavs have three centers, all who actually play almost equal minutes: Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi and Brandan Wright.
Haywood, of course starts, as he did before Chandler came along. In the playoffs, Haywood averages three points per game along with three rebounds per game compared to Chandler’s seven points and eight rebounds. So that’s that. Mahinmi is better on the offensive end, so far averaging six ppg in the playoffs; and Wright has shown immense effort but has not been getting the playing time that some might like him to get.
Another thing that definitely factors into this disappointing season and playoff run is the lockout. Not only did the Mavs lose countless players, they’ve gained new ones as well. With a lockout cutting into much of the season, Dallas had very little time to practice and mesh as a new team. Dallas had a chance to show what they were worth by re-matching the Miami Heat in the first game back, but of course we all know the outcome of that game. Mavs fans had to painfully watch their team lose by countless buzzer beaters and game winning shots.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is the drama that Lamar Odom unfortunately brought to this team. When Mavs fans heard the news that Odom was coming to the big D, they couldn’t believe that they only had to give up an $8.9 million trade exception, as well as a protected first-round pick’ two simple things for Odom, 2011 sixth man of the year. And if that wasn’t enough, the Lakers also threw in a 2012 second-round draft pick. Could it get any better than that? Well, no, but it could get worse, and indeed it did.
Odom was inconsistent as well as non-existent in games and blamed his problems on the court on his personal problems off of it. Cuban and the Mavs did not need this, and soon mutually agreed to send Odom packing. Since the Mavs decided to make Odom “inactive” rather than releasing him altogether, he continued to collect paychecks from Cuban for the remainder of the season. This left many fans and even analysts very unhappy, especially TNT analyst Charles Barkley who ranted about the situation during his appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3’s Galloway & Co:
“I always pull for the players, but the fact that they’ve got to pay him I think is a joke. I mean, because he didn’t earn his salary. He didn’t earn it at all...
...I like Lamar as a person, but I’m disappointed about everything that happened in Dallas. And it’s a shame that the Mavs got to pay him, to be honest with you, because he doesn’t deserve to get paid for what he put out there this year. He doesn’t deserve it, plain and simple...
...To sit at home and make that kind of money really pisses me off, to be honest with you, for the effort that he put out there. He’s going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars these next two paychecks… That’s not fair to the Mavs. It’s not fair to the game of basketball. I’m just disappointed in Lamar.”
As are we, Sir Charles.
Now the Mavs head to game 4 in the series tomorrow on their home court against the Thunder in hopes of avoiding a sweep to end their season. Despite the outcome, the Mavs have free agency to look forward to, as they have plenty of cap space to work with for the first time in a while.