The good news: the Mavs made the playoffs! The bad news: it might be a short series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It can be tough to get excited about a series that Dallas might have no chance in. But there are a few intriguing and exciting things about this series that Mavs fans should be excited for. The Mavs are in the playoffs when they probably shouldn't have been, that's reason enough! But here are a few more reasons to get pumped:
1. Salah the Ballah
Salah Mejri has no chill when it comes to the Thunder. Literally none. Remember this?
That's just one of the highlight blocks Mejri had against the Thunder this season. In fact, the Tunisian rookie averaged 8.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in three games against Oklahoma City. And to make it even more hilarious, he'll go and taunt them.
With David Lee questionable for the series opener, expect a heavy dose of Mejri early. I'm very okay with that given how he's played against Oklahoma City, and how much he likes to troll them.
2. Potential Rick Carlisle sorcery
The biggest advantage the Mavericks have in this series is coaching. It's Rick Carlisle, a sorcerer that used dark magic to reinvent his team on multiple different occasions, versus Billy Donovan, a rookie head coach.
We've seen Carlisle's magic before in 2014, when Dallas was matched up against the No. 1 seeded Spurs. Instead of going out in four or five games, Dallas pushed the eventual champs to seven games. Of course, that was a better team than this incarnation of the Mavericks, but the point is that Carlisle has worked wonders before.
It'll be interesting to see how that materializes against a rookie head coach of a team that has blown plenty of fourth quarter leads. Carlisle might out-coach Donovan, but Dallas still might lose in four or five. Still, it's fun to see what he has in store.
Justin Anderson has provided the Mavs energy in their darkest hour. He has provided a spark, and partially helped the Mavs make a push for one of the final spots in the Western Conference. I really, really hope Carlisle doesn't stick Anderson in the dog house during this series.
It might be a playoff series that's too much for the rookie to handle, but he's by far Dallas' most athletic player outside of JaVale McGee. He could make an impact defensively on athletic-freak and cyborg Russell Westbrook, or even Kevin Durant. He could fall flat on his face, but he could also have moments of brilliance. Either way, the possibility of Anderson getting the experience of the playoffs is exciting.
4. Potential rivalry
The Mavs and Thunder have never really struck me as rivals, which is odd considering their proximity. San Antonio and Houston are the obvious rivals, and even Miami with the Finals history and the Clippers with.....well, let's not go there again.
Dallas and Oklahoma City have met in the playoffs twice, with neither time being very competitive. The Mavs beat the Thunder in the 2011 Western Conference finals in five games, while the Thunder swept the Mavs out of the playoffs in 2012.
This may not be much of a series either, but the more actual playoff history the team has the more I'd consider it a rivalry. They've had plenty of fun and chippy regular season games over the years, but the playoffs are where rivalries can really take off. A potential and consistent Dallas vs. OKC rivalry could be lots of fun.
5. Dirk in the playoffs
Most importantly of all, just be excited to watch Dirk in the postseason yet again. Who knows how many more of these we're going to get. The Mavs might lose quickly, but the idea of Dirk turning back the clock for even one classic performance is enough to excite me.