HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If a championship run does nothing, it forges a certain bond among the men that remain to defend it and hardens their resolve at doing it by any means necessary.
That would also help explain why the Dallas Mavericks seem undaunted by the prospect of having to hit the road in this postseason to try to defend that title.
From Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry on down, the Mavericks have a clear vision of what it will take to battle their way through these playoffs. And they know it’s just as difficult either way, but especially in this particular season, given the nature of the lockout and all that it has wrought.
That said, this is a relatively rare thing for the Mavericks, to be operating from this vantage point in the Mark Cuban era. More from Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram:
For just the fourth time in Mark Cuban’s 12 full seasons of ownership, the Dallas Mavericks will finish this season with a losing record on the road. Sunday’s 112-108 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers gives the Mavs just a 13-17 record on the road with only three road games remaining.
Because the Mavs (34-27) will be starting this year’s playoffs on the road, it would seem they’d be concerned about their inability to grab more than their share of victories away from home.
“Not at all,” guard Jason Terry said. “The regular season is going to have no meaning on what the playoffs will mean.
“Obviously you can blame it on the schedule. Every team has gone through it, but it’s not as what it would be in a regular season.”
The Mavs play their 31st road game at 8 tonight at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City against a Utah Jazz squad scrapping for its playoff lives. Dallas’ final two road games are Saturday in Chicago and April 26 in Atlanta.
If they hope to repeat as NBA champs, the Mavs realize they must find a way to win at least one road game in every series, barring upsets by teams seeded lower than them.
“In the playoffs, unless you get home-court advantage, you’ve got to win some games on the road,” center Brendan Haywood said. “Hopefully we’ll get it done.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a concern.”
It’s actually a huge concern for the Mavericks, if they are indeed interested in mounting a legitimate defense of their title. There was some concern earlier this season if they had enough juice leftover, after all of the comings and goings after the title run and the season-long Lamar Odom drama, to even make the playoffs.
They’ve taken care of that. Now we’re going to find out if they are up to the challenge of defying the odds and everything we’ve seen this season and scrap their way back to the contender’s realm in the postseason.
And instead of doubting them, as we and so many others did this time last year, we’ll sit back and see how Rick Carlisle and his crew try to make it happen.