Dallas Mavericks: The Latest Roller Coaster at Six Flags Over Texas

Adam Amick@adamamick1Senior Writer IJanuary 29, 2009

Up and down and up and down and up. When will this ride end?

I’m just glad I don’t pay to watch this stuff.

Seriously; it would drive me up the wall to not know which Mavs team was going to show up on a given night. I compare it to being on the Judge Roy Scream coaster in Arlington, but it’s dark and you can’t tell what’s next.

The four-game road trip Dallas just returned home from was a clear example, but of what I’m not exactly sure. Perhaps, the consistency of this team lies in its inconsistency.

They come from behind to beat a Philly team that had won seven straight. Dirk is lousy early, missing 13 of 14, but drains the game-winner at the buzzer. Would this be an example of, “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good."? The team boards the plane for Milwaukee feeling pretty good about itself, and is 1-0 on the trip.

Apparently there was something in the food on the flight, because the team that landed wasn’t the same as the one that boarded the jet.

Facing a team that was three games under .500 and tied in the third, Dallas decided to stop playing defense. More likely they just flat stopped playing. The Bucks went on a 19-2 run, and it was over before the “fat lady” could even get the phone call.

In the remainder of the game, the Mavs could only watch as the home team ran up the score. Dallas would leave with their tail between their legs following a 34-point loss.

Loss is an understatement really, blowout is a better description.

So after two games against .500 or worse teams, they were 1-1. The positive G-forces at the bottom of that hill were anything but.

Detroit was slated to be a loss. The Pistons are a pretty good team – easily the match of the Mavs, right?

Then Dirk Nowitzki finds his scoring touch, going 12 for 20 from the floor with 26 points total, and Dallas has five scorers in double-figures. Up we go again… Mavs 112, Pistons 91 - 2-1 with one to go.

Uh, I think I’m getting queasy here. Can this ride keep going up for a minute?

Nope. The bottom falls out.

Boston, defending champs and clearly looking to hold the title, dismantled Dallas by holding Dirk to 4-17 from the floor and 18 total. Jason Terry, arguably the best bench player in the league this season, tried to take up the slack with a team-high 27. But the Celtics got 23 each from Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Eddie House on the way to a 124-100 rout.

There was some serious air time over that camel-back – My stomach is in my throat.

The team returned home to the friendly confines of the American Airlines Center Wednesday night 2-2 on the trip, and in need of a break.

Dallas’ weakness has been… Okay, one of Dallas’ weaknesses has been slow starts. They let teams jump out ahead and then figure they can play catch-up. In a number of cases they have done so. But this is a result of another weakness: lack of defensive play.

If the Mavs’ faithful aren’t frustrated with it, I’m quite certain head coach Rick Carlisle is.

So into town rolls the lowly Golden State Warriors. Come to think of it I had to stop and think for a little bit before I recalled where the team is based. Oh, yeah, Oakland. Between the whole earthquake thing and it just being Oakland I wouldn’t want to play there.

But I digress.

So as the stomach churns we find ourselves on this train looking at the bottom of a hill – I think.

And once again after a slow start the Mavs found themselves in a 19-12 hole, and it looked like Warriors’ coach Don Nelson was going to get the best of his former club again. A timeout was called by Dallas, something was said, the hill bottomed out, and we started a climb again.

The Mavs started getting stops, went on a 12-0 run and never looked back, winning 117-93. Six players finished in double-figures; including Brandon Bass and James Singleton off the bench. Dirk was below average with 20, but Terry added 22, Josh Howard had 19, and Erick Dampier was strong early to add 10.

So at 26-19, Dallas is still in the hunt, but they head for two games in Florida against an improving Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat team. Then play Dwight Howard and the Magic. After that it’s back home to face a strong Portland and then troublesome Utah in Salt Lake City the next night.

With this schedule and the way this team has played, the only guarantee is that this Dallas Mavericks roller coaster is not bound to reach the station soon. Being consistently inconsistent isn’t something you don't want to be known for – playing defense is.

I’m going to need an airsickness bag.



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