The 2011 Dallas Mavericks Are Not Your Usual Choke-Artists

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Over the last twelve years or so, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs have owned the NBA playoffs while winning nine of twelve championships. One of their minor road-blocks in the West was Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

I say minor because the Mavericks have reeled off eleven straight seasons of 50+ wins, but have appeared in the Western Conference Finals on only three occasions over that same time-span with a lone trip to the Finals in 2006 (lost in six games to the Miami Heat).

With their well-documented disappointment in the month of May, the Mavs have been frequently labeled as one of the NBA’s biggest choke-jobs.

They seem to be following a different script this season as they held off the Portland Trail-Blazers and then annihilated the two-time returning champs. Up next, the young and battle-tested Oklahoma City Thunder.

By: Nick Grays

It’s not the match-up everyone dreamed of for the Western Conference Finals, but an intriguing one indeed. So many questions to be answered when the Mavs and Thunder tip-off in game one tonight.

One of the biggest concerns is whether the Thunder have enough in the tank after being taken to seven games by the eighth-seeded Grizzlies. Not only did the Grizzlies take a superior team to the wire, they exposed their weaknesses. Kevin Durant and company cannot afford to take any time off as the Mavs boast arguably the deepest team in the league.

Dallas’ depth was showcased in their sweep of the Lakers as the bench outscored the Lakers bench 198-89 in four games.  Game four was ridiculous as Jason Terry (32), J.J. Barea (22) and Peja Stojakavic (21) combined to score 75 of the Mavs’ 86 bench points (the Lakers only scored 86 as a team in the same game).

In addition to their pesky bench of veterans, the Mavs have to like their chances to reach the Finals because they simply match-up well against the Thunder. During the regular season, Dallas went 2-1 against OKC (the loss occurred with Nowitzki on the bench).

One of the big reasons the Grizzlies were able to stick with the Thunder was because of their size via Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. The Mavs beat the Thunder during the regular season with the same attribute. Big man Tyson Chandler has thrived versus Oklahoma City while compiling 12.7 points, 15.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

I would expect Chandler to flourish in this series once again, because there is no way for the Thunder to guard him because of Dirk’s lethal shooting from the field.

Dirk had a career year during the regular season while shooting a crazy 51.7 % from the field. He hasn’t shown any dip in production during the playoffs while averaging 26.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in 38.1 minutes per contest.

However, the best advantage the Mavs hold over the Thunder is experience. Albeit some unsuccessful experience in the playoffs, the Mavs are littered with players who are in their thirties and have played in a ton of playoff games (Nowitzki, Terry, Stojakavic, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion).

If you have no rooting interest in this series, I recommend rooting for the Mavs because their roster is full of guys who deserve a NBA Championship and this just may be their last chance to get one.

What do you think of the 2011 Mavs? Are they still likely to choke or do they have a legitimate shot at winning a title? How many games will it take for them to close out the Thunder? Let me know by commenting below!

Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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Comments

  1. D. Small says

    I am rooting for the mavs because like you I too think they deserve a championship and I think this is their year no doubt. They should take care of the thunders in 6.

  2. Billy Thomas says

    OKC is done. The refs aren’t going to let them rough up Dirk (Ibaka’s two fouls in 5 seconds)the way they did Gasol and Randolph in the last game of their series. OKC probably shouldn’t even been in this series. Westbrook is a terrible liabilty on some nights. If he’s going to drive, he’s got to finish. If he can’t finish, he needs to dish.

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