The sad fact is that people, even now, still don't realize who we are. Or what we are.
The talent level soars, and confidence joins it. The difference is not in the personel, but rather in the quality of team we have now. We are no longer a veteran team in name only. Sure it's nice to have age and experience, but if you're 12 year guys are turning it over and missing open shots, it is better to play the 25 year old. However, this is no longer the case. Jason Kidd is playing arguably the best basketball of his career(Ignore stats. Just look at how much better he makes Dallas), Terry has become more consistent, Peja has become a decent defender and passer, and Chandler has had his career rejuvenated.
I didn't forget about Dirk, mind you. But talking a lot about him would be redundant, because anyone with a set of eyes already knows he is not who he used to be. This is a new Dirk Nowitzki we're seeing. And with each passing playoff game, the doubters fade while believers are reborn from their ashes.
This is not the same team as in those 1st round exits. Need proof? Just look at these playoffs, namely at the Thunder game tonight.
Dallas is a road team. That is what makes us. We are no longer the team that can not finish away from our own floor. We play with resilience, and play together as a team. No more panic. No more flair when toughness is needed. No more softness where grit is called for; now we not only bring the grit, but we thrust it upon our opponents faces. We can win on the road, and close out games. We are no longer the team that needs to be up 25 with a minute to go to seal it. Now, a 4 point lead is a comforting one. And being down 3 or 4 in the waning moments is no longer a nerve racking situation, but rather a more relaxed feeling, as one knows that while we may not win the game, at least we will go out with a bang. This is not the Dallas Mavericks anymore boys and girls. We are a new monster. Earlier in the year, when OKC makes a run like that, we may panic and fold. But no. Not these Mavericks. We needed a road win so we snatched it from them.
We are clutch. We are tough. We can pull together on the Road, at Home, early, or late in the game. We have a superstar that is not only not shy of the spotlight, but demands it. We have role players ready to step up and fill the gaps. We have a coach who no longer allows himself to get punked by opposing coaches. No more altering our gameplan to fit theirs. Now, we play Maverick basketball for 48 minutes, and make THEM change their gameplan, or watch us celebrate when the horn rings.
Basketball has changed in Dallas. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Get ready for a strong closing to the playoffs fans. This is a team that can win, and will win. We play strong on the road now, and in the 4th quarter. We can look back right now at any Maverick team and say it is the best ever. Terry is having the best playoffs of his career. Kidd is playing phenomenal. Barea is showing the world he is for real, and Peja and Chandler are showing the NBA that they're still here, and ready to fight. The fact that we have 0 rings between our players no longer holds us back. Rather, it pushes us forward. 1 team. 1 goal. Buckle your seatbelts and get a firm grip on the OS Handle. The Mavs are about to rock this bitch.
Now, as always,
PS: As a testament to his greatness, look at what Dirk did tonight. Despite a horrible start, when it mattered, he got the ball in the 4th and hit several field goals in the final minutes, then calmly sank his free throws to ice it.