A typo?! Everyone freak out! Ahhhh!!!
No, no. I am simply referring to the nickname that the Mavericks were dubbed. That nickname seems to have gone away recently. I hate to give credit to Avery Johnson, but he is a huge reason why. Also, a huge reason goes to Tyson Chandler as he has repaid Dallas the favor of jump-starting his career by jump-starting our defense.
So, Farewell Allas Mavericks, and welcome Tyson Chandler! After the jump, I will focus on the dire importance of the upcoming six-game home stand.
As similarly seen in other sports, the NBA is often a case of perception vs. reality. Who you seem to be vs. who you really are. Right now, the perception that many people have of us is that we are a sub-par defensive team, who thrives on jump shooting to win games.
This is not true.
The Dallas Mavericks are revamped, thanks mainly to Tyson Chandler. On defense, we're a different team. What Chandler supplies is a defensive-minded big man to shut down the paint. Guess what? Dirk Nowitzki gets to focus more energy on offense now. Yay! Also, Dirk no longer has to try to rebound so much. Now we often see Dirk start to take off down the floor after shots go up, knowing Chandler is back there. Also, now we have an additional 7 footer. Brendan Haywood is not a premier NBA starter. However, match him up with other back-up Centers in the NBA, and you'll see why he needs to be cherished. Chandler alone is okay. Chandler with Haywood is a two-headed monster. Also, we have now added a new aspect to our interior game. Without
Stonehands Erick Dampier, Kidd can now incorporate the centers without turning it over. Haywood and Chandler can finish, as well as attract the attention of surrounding defenders, freeing the lane up for Caron Butler, Dirk, and in the future, Roddy Beaubois.
It has been a team effort to do what we have. However, I doubt little debate will surface to combat the fact that without Chandler, we would be sitting at 13-8, at best.
On to other matters. This six-game home stand marks what might be the most important stretch in the Mavericks season. Why is it important? It is home. Home is where we make it. If we can hold this home stand, it will be remarkable. First of all, our winning streak will be extended to 15. Great. Why Am I not so enthused? As great as a streak is, unless it is in the latter half of the year, it is nothing but temporary. I am more interested in what the streak comes with, more specifically, this home stand. With wins here, we will instill in our subconscious that we are strong at home. Confidence. Grit. Dallas will now see themselves as a team that has motivation to seek a high seed. Why? Because we are powerhouses at home. The confidence this win streak will bring, and has brought, is more important than the number of wins it brings us in the standings.
The remaining games see the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trailblazers, and finally the Phoenix Suns come into town in a Nationally televised game. All of these games are winnable. Moreover, if we truly see ourselves as contenders, they are must-wins. One may read this and believe I am overreacting. But winning games on the road on big nights against huge teams can often be overlooked as more important than the small games. Sure they are more important, but not by a huge margin. Wins against big teams in big (regular season) games often show things that are not consistent, whether it be Dirk dropping 45, or a role player like Shawn Marion or JJ Barea scoring 25. What we need to see is consistent play in the small games. The forgotten games that don't make big stories on NBA.com. Dallas is a team who every year will get 3-4 big wins. We will get those "WOW" wins that make news columns. Our problem is winning the smaller games.
This streak and this home stand is a chance to prove to the league that this team is for real. To prove to the analysts on PTI that they should have bought our win streak. Let not the streak itself, or the breaking of the streak embed into your mind that it is so important. See past that, and realize the value of the streak. The Bonding. The coming together of a team, that as of the last month, has shown that while the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers may get the headlines, we can get the rings.
Now, as always,