Is the Year of the Mavericks Upon Us?

There have been a number of things that have had to happen for the Dallas Mavericks to make it to the Western Conference Finals.

The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the most successful franchises in recent NBA history. In fact, they will go down as one of the best regular season teams that the NBA has seen with 11 consecutive seasons with 50 or more wins.

However, they are also the most unsuccessful good team that the NBA has seen. The other teams to string together so many 50+ win seasons have all won multiple NBA Titles. The Dallas Mavericks have won zero.

This year it appears that the pieces could finally be falling together at the right time for the Mavericks to win that first elusive championship.

Beating the defending champions is a good sign for Dallas. Los Angeles was looking to win their third title in a row, but the Mavericks were able to sweep the champs winning by such a margin in the fourth game that the Lakers looked more like rank amateurs and thugs than professionals.

For the Mavericks, the trip to this point of the 2011 playoffs started after the team was eliminated from the 2010 postseason. With his contract expiring, Dirk Nowitzki was free to look for a better deal or a more talented team somewhere else. After the loss to the San Antonio in Game 6 he sounded like he might be thinking about it.

Cuban and Nowitzki eventually came to agreement on a new deal making it clear that Dirk wanted to win a championship in Dallas.

With the core of the team still remaining from the previous season, the Mavericks needed to add some depth to the roster. The addition of Tyson Chandler gave them some much needed depth at the center position. Adding Peja Stojakovic in January added another solid veteran to their bench.

Combine that with the talented young players like Rodrigue Beaubois and J.J. Barea, as well as veteran sixth man Jason Terry, and the Mavericks roster was prepped to make another push for the postseason.

This was not the first time that Mark Cuban had collected a solid team. In recent years those teams always ended up under-performing in the postseason when it mattered most, getting eliminated in the first round three of the last four seasons. So frustrating was it that when the team let what should have been an easy win slip away earlier in the season, head coach Rick Carlisle referred to his team as soft.

That may be where the Mavericks turned into the contenders that they have now become. In an effort to prove that they are anything but soft they have become the hottest team in the NBA and a favorite to win at this point in the season.

“That’s what you play the game for, to be a champion,” Jason Kidd said. “It’s a hard climb and you’re never promised to get there. If you do, you’ve got to treasure it and do everything you can to win.”

The soft title will not be gone for good unless the Mavericks are able to hold off the Thunder and then defeat the Eastern Conference representative for the NBA championship. If the words that Jason Terry used after the team beat the Lakers in Game 4 of the conference semi-finals are any indication, they will not be satisfied with anything less.

"The job is not finished."
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