Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Just in case you missed it . . .

Espn.com cites the Elias Sports Bureau:
The Mavericks made history on Tuesday night -- not just team history, not just NBA history, but major North American pro sports history. With their 102-89 victory over the Nets, the Mavericks became the first team in NBA history to earn 51 wins in a 56-game span within a single season.

No team in the NHL or in Major League Baseball has done such a thing, either. (And in the NFL, no team has ever amassed 51 wins over any multiple-season stretch of 56 regular-season games.)
Just to be fair, that kind of a stretch isn't really realistic in baseball, where the best regular season team usually wins 100-105 games (61.7%–64.8%), whereas the NBA almost always has at least one team win 60 (73.2%). And in the NHL the top record of any given 82-game season is usually closer to 50 than to 60, largely because most teams end up with 10+ ties as well.

What remains, though, is something that's never been done, and that's pretty impressive even if it's only judged within NBA history.

All of which leads into Sunday's game at LA.

With the Mavericks playing so absurdly well, I can't help but think of Dec. 6, 2002, when Dallas showed up at LA with a 17-1 record and went into the fourth quarter with a 27-point lead before getting outscored 44-15 and losing by 2. LA hit 16 of 18 shots that quarter, and Dallas looked like they had forgotten how to play. It was something like the 24th straight loss at the Lakers for Dallas. In what had looked like a dream season, from that game on, I knew deep down that Dallas wasn't good enough to win the title.

It also reminds me of Dec. 20, 2005 at LA, when Kobe personally outscored dallas 62–61 in the first three quarters before sitting out the fourth quarter of the Lakers' blowout win. Dallas was 18-6 (75%) going into that game, and although it wasn't as crushing as the loss in 2002, it was still a rough one to sit through.

The Mavericks' title hopes don't quite hinge on a victory Sunday. However, I have a feeling Kobe (playing at home and televised nationally) is planning to make a statement, so maybe this would be a good time for Dallas to beat him to the punch.

6 comments:

Ryan B said...

I remember watching that Mavs-Lakers game in 2002 at Ryan Anqwin's and Chris Steger's house. It was excruciating to watch. Even as the lead in the fourth was still around ten points, you just knew we were going to lose. It's like there's a curse hanging over the Mavs everytime they play in LA.

How times have changed, though. I see us as the team that can rally from 27 down in the fourth if we had too. Better yet, when was the last time we were ever down 27 points in a game?

scoots said...

What are you talking about? It was only three losses ago that Dallas trailed Utah by 28 in the fourth quarter. You don't remember that?

Oh wait, that was 14 weeks ago.

Actually, though, when Kobe sat down with 62 at the end of that third quarter last year, the Lakers led 95-61.

scoots said...

I guess it's pretty obvious that Shaquille O'Neal wasn't happy with people questioning whether he could carry the Heat.

In the six games since their loss to Dallas the night after Wade’s injury, O'Neal has averaged 21.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 61.7% shooting (and 30.6% FT). That last figure isn't so impressive, but the Heat's 5 wins in those 6 games without Wade are.

Speaking of recent play, in Dallas' past 12 games Dirk has been up in practically every category: 26.9 points (on 54.3% FG, 92.3% FT, and 46.4% 3P), 10.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.4 blocks. Part of that is attributable to increased minutes (38.1), but the shooting percentages are extremely impressive.

Incidentally, for the season, Dirk has the highest percentage in all three areas (FG, FT, and 3P) of any player in the top 17 in scoring.

Ryan B said...

Go and read the article on ESPN.com by Eric Neel. It sucks. Maybe it's just because I am a Mavs fan, but I don't agree that the Mavs style of play is boring or that Dirk is a boring player to watch. Sure, Dirk isn't throwing down sick dunks every night, but his unstoppable fade-away jump shot is beautiful.

Here's the link: Tell me what you think:
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=neel/070309&sportCat=nba&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab7pos1

micah said...

That article does suck. I can buy finding more enjoyment in the Suns - but the Pistons...THE PISTONS!!! I tried to watch some of that Detroit/Miami game a week or so ago - brutal. He says "The Pistons make me think defense is some sort of higher calling." Really...then why do the Mavs give up fewer points then they do?

I have a feeling in ten years (if the Mavs win the title) that people will be remember the mesmerizing way that Dallas could win any way they wanted/need to and how efficient they were on offense and solid they were on defense. I think this guy is remembering the good ole days and trying to make us believe he isn't.

This 4 day break is killing me. I need more Mavs!

scoots said...

Speaking of Suns and Pistons, I thought this was a pretty funny comment in the Hollinger rankings from a rabid, slightly short-sighted, Detroit fan:

“Everyone is counting this team out because of the ‘The best in the West’. But what people should know is that any five of their starters can errupt and score 20+ on any give night. It's something that no other team has in the league.”

I'll try to be fair and go by the spirit of what this person is saying, that the Pistons have five different guys who are a legitimate offensive force in their own right. So even though each of the Mavericks' starters have actually scored 20+ points in at least one game this season, we'll exclude Dallas on this point since Devin Harris has only done it once, and Dampier mostly gets his points off of rebounds and great passes.

But for crying out loud, what about Phoenix?! All five of their starters have scored at least twenty at least twice this season. Four of them (Stoudemire, Marion, Nash, Bell), along with their sixth man (Barbosa) have scored at least 30 in a game this season, and Stoudemire and Nash have both scored at least 40.

And although Diaw only has a pair of 21-point games this season (there are only so many points to go around with Amare back), last year he had 20+ in at least nine games, including three playoff games against Dallas in which he scored 34, 30, and 25.

I'm sure it seems like I'm nit-picking to point that out, except that even a Dallas fan has to admit that these six guys from Phoenix are frightening.