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And So The Mavericks Season Ends...

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It doesn't feel that bad, really.  Not compared to the last two playoff oustings.  Not compared to where we thought this team was at certain points of the regular season.

We had the chance to see Dallas win 55 games this year, which means Mavs fans had it better off than the fans of 21 other teams in the league.  We saw 50 regular season wins for the ninth time running.  We watched the greatest player in Mavs history have another first team All-NBA season and try to carry the team in the semis with a five game average of 34.4ppg,11.6rpg, and 4apg.

Even the end was made easier to bear by its probabilty -- there was no underachieveing this year.  Instead they knocked off the favored San Antonio in five.

And the Denver series... well we had to see it coming didn't we?  We knew the defense was a problem.  That it would eventually end the Mavs playoff run - be "our undoing" as Coach Carlisle would say.  The worst defense in the Western Conference playoffs really didn't stand chance against Denver.  120.02 defensive efficiency for the series and 133.92 in game five.  It's not pretty.  It's brutal actually, but at least it's not shocking.

The better team won, and as much as it sucks to be on the losing end, I'm okay with that.

Mark Cuban has already said that "next season starts today", and it may have even started in our minds before the game was over.  You couldn't help but wonder watching the game who you might be seeing the last of in a Dallas uniform.  Will Erick Dampier's last game as a Mav be a 24 minute, 6 point, 2 rebound performance?  Has Kidd's second stint come to an end?

There's plenty of time to worry about that stuff though.  For now, we know at least one person will be here for sure.

"It's always tough.  You can think about it all summer, but you've got to use some of that as motivation.  And come next year with the same focus, hopefully a better player, a better person and just leave it all out there again for this franchise and the city of Dallas."

- Dirk Nowitzki