There has been a lot of season-stealing headlines in the NBA this season. The Philadelphia 76ers futility, the surprising Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors going toe-to-toe with the big boys in their respective conferences, Kobe Bryant’s bizarre contract extension, the continued evolution of the San Antonio Spurs and the lackadaisical season from the defending champion Miami Heat.
Lost in those season-grabbing headlines was the rebirth of the Dallas Mavericks, who were written off at the beginning of the season for being too old and too convoluted to compete with the best the West had to offer.
Nobody knew what the Mavericks were at the beginning of the season. We did not know how much gas Dirk Nowitzki had in the tank. We were worried about how a backcourt of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon would be able to stop anybody. And to add insult to injury, we were worried how effective their spare part bench would be against the more better bench squads in the NBA.
Throughout the season, those questions would be answered. The starting backcourt of Ellis and Calderon were indeed horrible on defense, Nowitzki had more in the tank than we all realized and the spare part bench turned out to be one of the most productive benches in the NBA.
Even more important, the Mavericks were playing the Mavericks of old.
If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that the Dallas Mavericks would be in the playoffs, I would have called the mental institution on you. But tonight, on April 12, 2014, the Dallas Mavericks are heading to the playoffs. Along the way, Ellis reinvented himself as a star, Nowitzki quietly had a “Nowitzki” type year and coach Rick Carlisle may have put his name on the short list for Coach of the Year.
It has been a storybook year for the Cinderella Mavericks, who now walks into the playoffs with confidence in mind and an upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder in their hearts.
Midnight has come and gone, and the Cinderella Mavericks are still dancing.