The Dallas Mavericks are 18 and 8. The league-leading Milwaukee Bucks were no match for them, even without Luka “THE AGENDA” Doncic. Kristaps Porzingis and Seth Curry made light work of the Bucks. Child’s play. 48 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo be damned. The Mavericks are unbeatable. They’ve never been better.
The Mavericks have the third best Net Rating in the NBA, propped up by a top of the heap Offensive Rating. Actually, your Dallas Mavericks have the best Offensive Rating in NBA history. Eat your hearts out, ‘87 Lakers. You too, ‘96 Bulls. Also you, ‘17 Warriors, you cowards.
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. These are good players, sure. But none of these pairings hold a candle to Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis—easily two of the top three players in basketball history.
As I look back over the first third of the season, I see wins. Wins everywhere. A streak of 10 wins in 11 games. A win against the Bucks. A win against the Lakers. A win against the Lakers that was stolen from us. A win against Portland that we almost won. A win against Sacramento that we graciously let the Kings win. A win against Miami that Jimmy Butler screamed at so loudly that it became a Miami win. Two wins against the former captors of Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks—wait a minute. They lost two games to the Knicks?
Shit, the Mavericks lost two games to the Knicks.
But…this cannot be. They’re the best they’ve ever been. I literally just typed that! Didn’t you read about all those wins we won!?
OK, Kevin. Breathe. Let’s try to be calm and measured about this.
Maybe it’s totally okay for an exceptional team to have some mind-numbingly terrible losses. Maybe sometimes those losses even help an exceptional team get even better. Maybe it’s even okay for fans to get upset when a good team loses to a bad team.
When this Mavericks team was sitting at 6 and 5 in the middle of November, nobody knew what they would end up becoming. Two losses to the lowly New York Knickerbockers in the previous 4 games had plenty of people unhappy. I was in the stands for the Knicks loss in Dallas, and let me tell ya, the general feeling of the folks around me was just frustrated resignation. Another loss due to the team not playing up to expectations. We’d all seen it a thousand times before.
Now that the Mavericks are 18 and 8 (an impressive 12 and 3 since that frustrating start) you don’t get to look back and pretend those bad losses don’t matter. They matter. Do they mean that the 2019-2020 Dallas Mavericks are a shitty team? Of course not. But they are a part of the story of this team. A part that sucks.
But still, somehow, also, they’re the greatest team in history.