When it comes to the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks know how to lose.
There is a perception that winning is a habit. So to is losing, but victory is far more enjoyable.
For the Mavericks, they don't appear to be able to beat their addiction.
The Mavs seem to be especially good at the spectacular fall. In 2006, Dallas were on course for a 3-0 lead in the NBA Finals but they collapsed to lose the game and the championship.
Wondering how it all fell apart, Dallas sought redemption the following season and they roared into first place in the Western conference.
Last season, Dallas's annual capitulation came in the first round and this time they left with little more than a whimper. The New Orleans Hornets were more subtle than the Heat and the Warriors had been, but the end result was the same for the Mavs.
It came as no real surprise.
Surprisingly, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has kept the main core of players in Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse together. Cuban exiled head coach Avery Johnson for school-principal look-a-like Rick Carlisle, but other than that, this team looks like the same bunch that has coughed up post season losses consistently.
The San Antonio Spurs on the other hand just know how to win.
They haven't changed much either. For the most part, we still see the same familiar faces in San Antonio's lineup we have for the last few years.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Spurs don't always come away with the NBA championship, but no opposing team ever pulls to face them in the playoffs.
By their own standards, this was a bad year for the Spurs, especially at home. They lost 13 games at the AT&T center. However, they balanced the ledger by posting an almost identical road record and lost 15 games away from home.
Typically the Spurs didn't make excuses despite suffering injuries to their three top three players in Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan at various times throughout the season.
Instead the Spurs still turned in a 50-win season.
San Antonio will be without Ginobili for their playoff push. It reduces their chances of winning the championship, but it doesn't make them easy beats.
As long as Duncan and Parker stay healthy, the Spurs can't be written off.
Typically the Spurs didn't grab the headlines this season, they just went quietly about their business as they always do.
Somehow coach Gregg Popovich got great production out of journeyman Roger Mason jr. and even Matt Bonner become a solid part of San Antonio's offense. Michael Finley continues to ignore his age and produced another tidy season.
The season series was split 2-2, but even without Ginobili, the Spurs will be too good for the Mavericks.
Dallas will be hoping to draw on its last playoff meeting with the Spurs which they won in seven games, including a huge game seven victory in San Antonio.
However, since then a lot has changed, at least for the Mavericks anyway.
Spurs in six.