Things have not come easy so far this season for the Dallas Mavericks.
After starting 4-1, Dallas has lost eight of its last 11 to fall back to 7-8 on the season.
Still, with only 15 games played so far this year, Dallas still has plenty of time to improve its record and make noise in the playoffs.
Mavericks fans are still holding their breath awaiting the return of former league MVP Dirk Nowitzki to the lineup, which should drastically improve the team's chances.
7-8 is nothing to write home about, but Dallas can't be that disappointed that it is only one game under .500 without Dirk on the floor.
Here are five ways that the Mavericks have been able to keep their heads above water without their German superstar.