Winning Southwest Division Might Hurt Dallas Mavericks' Playoff Chances

Robert Kleeman@@RobertKleemanSenior Analyst IApril 13, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 22:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks drives the ball during the game against the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Curses line sports lore, most of them figments of fans’ imaginations.

Believe in them at your own peril.

Maybe there is something to this one.

The curse of the Southwest Division triumph?

Since the San Antonio Spurs secured their third title in 2005, the winner of the NBA’s most cutthroat cluster of teams has failed to recapture that magic.

The Spurs won the division in 2006 and lost in the Western Conference semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks.

Mark Cuban’s team followed up its first Finals appearance—and the team-defining collapse to the Miami Heat—with 67 wins and the division by a margin of 10 games.

The Mavs lost in the first round to the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors. The Spurs won their fourth championship.

The Spurs' botched title defense ended in a five-game Western Conference finals loss against the L.A. Lakers.

They did, however, beat the division champion New Orleans Hornets in seven games.

Last year? Michael Finley drained a three to force overtime in the final game of the regular season. The Spurs locked up the division with that victory over the Hornets.

The Mavs crushed them in the first round in five games.

The last thing Dallas, owner of the lowest point differential among West playoff teams, needs is another reason to question its chances for postseason success. Guess who wrapped up the division last week?

Maybe there is something to this one. Maybe not.

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