We now get to see Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban lift their championship banner at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
That's the only thing the Mavericks have going for them. They will lose that game, regardless. The Miami Heat will come back with a vengeance on this one.
Dallas is in rebuilding mode. The Mavs basically bailed out of this season by trading Tyson Chandler. By most accounts, the incumbent champs clearly forfeited out of the 2011-2012 NBA contest waiting to rebuild with more available cash next season and land a guy like Dwight Howard. They seem content with their last championship title, for now.
All this Heat team needs to do is get in Nowitzki's face and limit his points. Double team him. Use Bosh, LeBron—anyone.
With the schedule coming at a fast and furious pace, the Mavericks may not be able to jump off to a fast start, especially since they’ll be trying to work Lamar Odom, Delonte West and Vince Carter into their rotation.
“It might take a while if we hit our peak, but also the games are going to keep coming and you don’t want to fall far behind early,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said Saturday. “It’s not a normal season. “You want to be sharp at the beginning.
"At least if you’re not as sharp, still find ways to stay around in games and win them when it comes down to it. That’s what good teams do, and hopefully we’ll find a way.’’
With eight players age 32 or older and with the Mavs facing 22 back-to-backs in this 66-game season, Nowitzki is trying to be realistic about what to expect this season.
“Some nights might be a little ugly,’’ he said. “We might be tired some in a lot of games, where we can still have guys come in and give us some energy from the bench, and then we find a way to hang around and with the ability to close, which we had last year. They’ll see some games here early and be able to hang around early, and hit our peak a little later.’’
I still don't discount these Mavericks as contenders if Brendan Haywood can contribute in the middle, and Odom, Nowitzki and the other players get motivated.
But on Christmas day, they are toast.