If you want to know why the Dallas Mavericks are down 0-2 in the first round of the playoffs, look at the boxscores of this year’s Mavs-OKC playoff series so far vs. last year.
Then look for owner Mark Cuban.
Last year, nine Mavs contributed. This year, you have six.
Vince Carter has been a liability, only hitting seven of 23 shots. Brendan Haywood has proven he is a backup center, only averaging three points and 3.5 boards. He averaged more as a backup last year.
Brandan Wright and Roddy Beaubois haven’t performed in the playoffs. The only real contributor among the newcomers has been Delonte West. Ian Mahinmi, who played on the team last year, has done a decent job, but he is no Tyson Chandler.
Besides Chandler, who averaged 10.6 rebounds a game last year, missing Mavs include J.J. Barea, who had major contributions off the bench, including scoring 21 and 14 points in big wins; Peja Stojakovic, who hit some big shots; and Deshawn Stevenson, who provided needed defensive toughness.
So far in this series, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion have played about as well as you could have hoped, though they are all having to do more with Chandler, Barea and Co. gone. Dirk has even had to play center, with OKC’s thug, Kendrick Perkins, fouling him on just about every possession. Jason Terry had a good first game, but then he faltered in the second game.
Though I personally like Mark Cuban, he deserves scorn for essentially gutting last year’s title team, not signing Chandler, Barea and Stevenson in hopes of maybe signing a big free agent later this year or next year. Has he not heard the old saying, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?
It was like Cuban didn’t really believe this team could have won the title last year without sneaking up on teams, and he didn’t want to keep the same players around to allow critics more fuel if they fell short this year.
Whatever his reasons, he didn’t give the Mavs a real shot at defending the championship this year. And that’s just a damn shame.
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