The little Dallas Mavericks are about to lose the "little" tag for the duration, at least from me. This team is tearing the league UP so far this season and a comment from me is long overdue. I'm quite certain both you, the loyal reader, and the entire Mavs organization, right up to the top nut himself, Mark Cuban, have been on the edge of your seats, awaiting a Mavs pronouncement from me.
Well, the suspense is over. Here it is. Worth the wait? Not a chance.
The transformation of the Mavs from perennial laughing stock to league-dominating powerhouse is, essentially, complete. Avery Johnson has proven to be a coaching savant, only really stepping on his own wankie once since taking over the reins. Of course, that "once" was in the NBA Finals last year, but he appears to have learned from it.
Nowitzki and Howard are the two stars, both, it's worth pointing out, former Don Nelson draft picks. Jason Terry has made us largely forget Steve Nash. This year's spare-part additions like Devean George, Greg Buckner, and Austin Croshere are all fitting in well, contributing as hoped, and may prove to be the missing pieces.
Last night's victory over a Houston team which is surging, and which played about as well as it can, was only the most recent example of what has been complete dominance this season.
Of course, as great as this is to watch, and as euphoric as we're all feeling here on Jan 17th, none of this means much unless it sustains through June. The bar has been set very high for this team, by both past (and current) performance and by by it's coach. Winning the division or the conference is not what this is about. The championship is what this group is aiming for. They are making all the right moves so far.