Culture of Hoops

In the Shadows of Greatness: Mavericks Fall to the Spurs in Final Regular Season Game

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Okay, yes – April 13, 2016 was a historic night in the NBA, I get that immensely.

First, you had the Golden State Warriors cascading into history by being the first team to tack down 73 wins in the regular season with their slaughterhouse win over the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that looked more like a limping gazelle rather than a liable NBA threat.

Oh, and then there was that swan song being sung over in Los Angeles, which consisted of a ballad so epicly titillating that grown men dropped to their knees and openly wept. Since both historic moments clashed together at roughly around the same time in the West, one naturally beckoned louder than the other – and of course, the deafening semblance was in the form of Kobe Bryant and his 60-points, his final performance on the court against the visiting Utah Jazz so perfectly acute, that it managed to successfully shatter Twitter.

Anyway, enough about damn history. How ‘bout them Mavericks?

The Dallas Mavericks decided to close out the 2015-16 regular season with a muffled whimper – a far cry from the way they had been playing in the weeks leading up to the final matchup between a San Antonio Spurs team that consisted solely of players that Gregg Popovich pulled directly from the crowd at the American Airlines Center (hey, could have been), and a J.J. Barea, Devin Harris-less Mavs team.

Just because you already made it into the playoffs doesn’t mean you need to take up carbon monoxide sniffing  during the half and blow a 18-point lead against a B team, y’all. But, yet, that’s what the Mavericks did on Wednesday night.

Going into Wednesday’s game, there were three possible story endings an NBA author could have penned out for Dallas, all of which seemed pretty fatal to the average eye:

Dallas moves up to fifth seed, face the L.A. Clippers.
Dallas moves up to sixth seed, face the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Dallas face plants at seventh seed, face a fully decked Spurs.

The moving components consisted of a multiple array of West losses and/or wins, but the more likely scenario was that the Mavericks would face OKC in the first round. And so let it be written, so let it be done.

“We’re the Masking Tape Mavs,” Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle jokingly expressed about his team heading into the playoffs after their 96-91 loss to a bunch of backup Spurs. “Our guys have done it on grit and guts. We’re banged up, but we’ve got a couple of days here – at least a couple of days – to try to heal up a little more, I just love the way this team has fought for the past two-plus weeks.”

“I would have liked to get tonight, for our fans, our last home game in the regular season,” Wesley Matthews said while sitting in front of his locker. “But, we’re getting guys back healthy, it was a good night for guys to rest.”

Not only did Barea and Harris rest that evening, but David Lee then had to head to the bench early in the first half after hurting his freakin’ foot.

“It’s the right heel,” Carlisle noted. “And we hope it’s not serious. I don’t have the exact diagnosis, but he came down, he felt something, he came in and that was it.”

The table has been set, and the Mavericks have a few days to prepare for Game 1 on April 16 in Oklahoma City. Let’s just hope they’re at least halfway up to full strength when Saturday comes.

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