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History of the Mavs - Part 4 - The Season that Almost Was

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Sorry it’s been such a long time since my last history post, but I’ve finally got the next one ready. Since it has been a long time, here are the links to Parts 1,2, and 3. As for this part, we are concentrating on the 1987-88 Mavs, who were one of the best teams in franchise history.

This is by far one of my most favorite Mavs' videos. Just listen to the crowd at Reunion!

As the team prepared itself for the 1987 season, it lacked one key component: its head coach. After losing to the Sonics in the first round, Dick Motta, the franchise’s first and only coach, had a falling out with the media and ownership, prompting him to call it a quits. In his place, the Mavs hired veteran coach John MacLeod, who had led the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals in 1976. The Mavs continued their streak of great regular seasons as players like Aguirre, Blackman, Harper, and Perkins all put together good seasons. The surprise, however, was Roy Tarpley, who averaged 11.8 rebounds in just under 30 minutes a game. The Mavs eventually finished second in the Midwest Division and won 53 games, good enough for third place in the West.

Taking on the Rockets in the first round, Dallas took a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4 in Houston. In the third period of Game 4, Mark Aguirre played arguably the best quarter ever for a Mav as he scored 27 points while shooting 10 for 11 from the field. Remember, this was in the third period ALONE! After casting aside the Rockets, the Mavs took on the Nuggets, with whom they split the first 2 games in Denver. Returning home, the Mavs lost Game 3, but earned a minor victory as the Nuggets lost Fat Lever and ex-Mav Jay Vincent to injury for the rest of the series. Missing a couple of their best players, the Nuggets stood no chance against the Mavs, losing the next three games and eventually the series in 6. Making their first trip to the conference finals, the Mavs took on an old nemesis in the Lakers. Much like their first two playoff battles, the Lakers won the first two games at the Forum before returning to Dallas, where the Mavs won Games 3 and 4. Game 3 was particularly exhilarating as the Mavs turned a one point 4th quarter deficit into a 12 point win. True to form, the Lakers dominated Game 5 and the Mavs returned to Dallas for a crucial Game 6. In one of the most gutty and willful performances ever by a Mavs’ team, Dallas defeated the Lakers by 2 points, setting up a return to LA for a decisive Game 7. Dallas hung tough with the Lakers in Game 7; however, a freak knuckle injury to the Mavs’ most important player, Aguirre, doomed Dallas as the Lakers went onto win 117-102 in a game that was much closer than the final score suggested. Despite having fallen short, Dallas fans remained optimistic that next year would be the year they would finally reach the Finals. Little did they know, though, that problem after problem was about to arise.

The video details the entire Lakers-Mavs Series. It is from mainly the Lakers' viewpoint, but it is something cool to watch.

This video shows the highlights of the Game 7 in the Lakers' series. Watch the fourth quarter at your own risk!