Hope you enjoyed Tuesday’s visit by the Dallas Mavericks. Those of you in attendance at the Ford Center got to witness the 2007 NBA champions. No one’s beating this team in the playoffs. Not Phoenix. Not San Antonio. Not Miami, with or without Dwyane Wade. Not Detroit. Nobody.
And I’m not just saying that because they thrashed the Hornets. Aside from the fact that I’ve felt this way since the preseason, the regular season has proved that this team is on a mission. Have been since Day One. They have too many weapons. Too much depth. Too much experience. Too much versatility. Too good a coaching staff.
No NBA team can match what the Mavs bring over the course of a seven-game series. Phoenix probably has the best shot, but when the game’s on the line, Phoenix can’t get stops. Been that way for two years over in Arizona.
Tuesday’s game was over before it even started. The Mavs took care of business just like they have in the past 20 games against the Hornets. I’ve witnessed Dallas’ last eight wins over the Hornets live. And it’s been the same script each time these two teams take the floor. The Mavs go up. The Hornets, sometimes, make a little push. The Mavs turn up the intensity and the Hornets have no answer.
Chris Paul might as well have grabbed some popcorn and stayed on the bench. He scored two points, his lowest point total since Nov. 14. But in that game, he had 10 assists and Peja Stojakovic had a career-high 42 points. Paul had just three assists Tuesday, and a healthy Peja probably wouldn’t have helped the Hornets on this night.
But Paul’s stats suggest he’ll bounce back strongly Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Paul is averaging 16.2 points, 8.1 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
I don’t know what’s wrong with Devin Brown, who missed six of his nine shots Tuesday. His three made shots came in the garbage time fourth quarter. When I asked Byron Scott on Monday about Devin’s struggles, he said he still has faith in him and that won’t change. Maybe it’s time for a change in the starting lineup. Maybe Rasual Butler, who averages 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists as a starter warrants another look as the 2-man. Don’t think it will happen, though.