The predictions in their three week existence are, to date, 8-2. One of those two was a game Dirk unexpectedly sat out (pro-tip! You can switch any game Dirk unexpectedly sits out from either prognosis good to prognosis bad OR prognosis mediocre/bad to prognosis blood, so much blood, oh god). I am pleased to announce that the initial findings of my "are the Mavs actually the most predictable team in sports" study are "yes, if you can do it, presumably an octopus with a learning disability also could."
There's a way in which this is too bad. Yes, I'm getting rich and filling my mansions with a series of exquisite coffee tables, each more exquisite than the last, but you can't buy a championship in coffee tables (I think?) and if the Mavs are really so predictable...well, they're going to take a long walk off a short pier, come playoff time.
To put this less torturously, the Mavs, like a cracked vuvuzuela, have to be significantly better than they are to make any noise. The hope that they could be rests on two possibilities: (1) That Devin Harris and Brandan Wright are capable of putting this team on turbo (or, as Jonathan Tjarks put it in a recent email thread, that Devin Harris can be the Mavs' deadline move) or (2) That they make a trade.
I gotta be honest. Trade time is our god given right to dream. But the Mavs don't have anything to trade. They have Brandan Wright, some assorted pieces. But listen, people don't trade players for players much these days. Teams that don't think they can win trade talent for draft picks, teams that think they can win no longer trade draft picks for talent. What don't the Mavs have?
That's right, oranges.
Also, draft picks.
(Does anyone else really want an orange right now?)
So the Mavs' best bet is very much related to me starting to be wrong more often. At no point in my life would I bet against that probability, in most fields, and this is no different. But it'll take more than one big win against Conley-less Memphis to change my mind.
At any rate, we got a short week and it's pretty easy to lay out.
Games this week: at Charlotte, Tuesday, February 11; at Indiana Wednesday, February 12
Prognosis for this week: Half-‘n-half!
Why the NBA saw an entire week and figured the Mavs needed to have a back-to-back, when teams play games through Thursday is one of those scheduling barbarities that is beyond the reach of mortal ken. Why they figured the Bobcats should be on the first night and the Pacers on the second night is just an instance of the universe's beautiful malice. If ever there was a week that didn't need an official prediction, this is probably it. But since I don't exist to provide the world only with its necessities, whatever.
Charlotte: Charlotte has completed the staggering, nigh impossible feat of being better than they were last year. IN FACT...in fact...they already have one more win, through a bunch fewer games. This has come largely thanks to their impressive defense which should instantly get whoever is coaching over there these days coach of the year honors because it's not clear to me, looking at their roster, how that's possible.
And they don't have no impressive wins. They just took out Weirdly Sputtering Golden State and beat the Clippers and Toronto in January, as well as taking Miami to OT. Like any team with actual NBA players, the Mavs could lose to them. But it doesn't seem that likely. They're not good. They started off the year by losing by 27 to LAC, 30 to Portland, beating Sacto by 10, losing to Washington by 14, Minny by 26, etc., etc.
But the Mavs should have this one.
Indiana: The Mavs should not have this one. No one could or should imagine that the Mavs are in the same weight class as one of the top three teams in the NBA this season. Sure, they haven't been as good, lately, as they were before, barely squeaking out wins against the likes of Atlanta and Brookyln, in addition to OT wins against Sacto and Portland in their last 8, but they're still 6-2 in that span, and they're still much better than the Mavericks. And on the second night of a back-to-back?
But whatever, you know? Opportunity for an exciting win that won't be too hard a loss to take. Given that you're not going to win all of ‘em, what else do you want? A smoothie? Maybe an oreo shake? I don't know, I'm just guessing here. I don't know you.
Prediction: Mavs go 1-1, in the way you'd expect.