NBA / Dec 30, 2011 / 3:00 pm

If Dallas Hits The Boards, It Won’t Have To Hit The Panic Button

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom (photo. Jeff Forney)

The Dallas Mavericks haven’t won an NBA game in over six months. A crazy thought, but then again their last win on June 12 won them a championship. Mark Cuban isn’t worried about the Mavs’ 0-3 start this year, but should Dallas fans trust in the owner’s confidence?

“I’m thinking this happens in the third preseason game; it’s just part of the process,” Cuban told The Dallas Morning News after a brutal loss to the Heat on Christmas Day. “It’s going to be a different season, and we just have keep working to get better every game. It was the first game we had everyone on the floor, and really, we just looked at it as a practice more than anything else.”

Problem is since then, the Mavericks have lost two more by equally dispiriting measures: another blowout and a buzzer-beater to Kevin Durant.

So the media asked Cuban again on Thursday: giving up yet?

“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” Cuban said when asked if this season has taken a spot on his backburner. “If that were the case, why would I take on Lamar [Odom]‘s salary? No possible way.”

Cuban isn’t crazy for watching with rose-colored glasses. Many point to the loss of Tyson Chandler as a reason why they were outrebounded by 10 boards in the first two games. Those two losses were so lopsided that Dirk Nowitzki barely stepped off the bench in the fourth quarter, and both the Heat and Nuggets dropped 97 points by the end of the third.

What’s a reason for hope, then?

Dallas has turned itself around with patchwork, less-than-dominating front lines before. In 2006-07, after a 1-4 start, the Mavs finished their first 10 games 6-4, outrebounding teams by five boards a game with a front line of D.J. Mbenga, Kevin Willis, DeSagana Diop and Erick Dampier.

The Mavs started 2008-09 at 1-3 and were outrebounded by an average of 8.6 boards per game en route to a 3-7 start. They recovered to finish 50-32 (that team finished with barely a rebound more per game than its opponents). Diop, Dampier, Ryan Hollins, Antoine Wright and Brandon Bass carried the Mavs’ frontcourt load that year.

Though Chandler’s absence as a last-line stopper shouldn’t be devalued, the Mavericks’ start seems to have more to do with general confusion with new players, a shortened training camp and the aging core of Dallas’ engine. Chandler was certainly a missing link for a title, but Dallas has played very well before without a big-time big man in the middle. So while Dallas can still score, Odom, Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright will have to play much better.

Against the Thunder on Thursday, both teams grabbed 38 rebounds and for once, Dallas stayed close.

Below is a full breakdown, since Nowitzki arrived, of the team’s splits through five and 10 games:

98-99: 1,4 1-9
99-00: 2-4, 4-6
00-01: 3-2, 5-5
01-02: 4-1, 6-4
02-03: 5-0, 10-0
03-04: 3-2, 6-4
04-05: 4-1, 8-2
05-06: 3-2, 8-2
06-07: 1-4, 6-4
07-08: 4-1, 8-2
08-09: 2-3, 3-7
09-10: 3-2, 7-3
10-11: 3-2, 7-3
11-12: 0-3, ?

How do you think the Mavs will fare this year?

Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • LeRoy Green

    Mavs are fine. Soon as Odom gets in shape and starts knocking down shots like he’s capable of we’ll be beating teams nightly. Lamar is like 4 for 26 or somethin for the season lol

    I thought Shawn Williams was really hustlin last night and deserved more minutes, Rick Carlisle obviously didn’t think so.

    Even after Carter hit that 3, I jumped off the couch and screamed…but then I saw the clock….

    1.7 seconds….PLENTY of time for durant to do work, and he did. thats why you gotta DENY HIM THE BALL smh I expect my boys to KILL the Raptors at home 2nite.

    When Carter and Odom get in gear and start to mesh with the rest of the team we’ll be fine. Prob won’t repeat this year but its all good. Keep the cap space and sign Deron Williams over the summer. Then its a wrap for ALL you bitches.

    DALLAS ALL DAY 214

  • cesar

    @leroy
    OK, BUT ITS ‘SEAN’, NOT ‘SHAWN’

  • LeRoy Green

    lol note taken.

    that nigga look like he chain smoke grape swishers for 9 hours straight before pre game warmups….

    but as long as he’s jumpin that high off the floor and doin the dirty work, its ALLLLLL good.

    Oh and Delonte West is becoming one of my favorite players. Not really great at one thing, he’s just great at being good at everything. Might even cop a jersey.

    And those new Mavs road uni’s are clean as hell.

  • First & Foremost

    The Mavs took a strategic step backwards. They aren’t worried about defending the title this year. They just have to be good enough to lure Deron from the Nets or persuade Dwight to feel like bolting for Dallas is completely different than the time Shaq went to LA.

    Only 3 games in, no need to panic. But this season looks like the motto coming out of the locker room is… “Let the chips fall where they may.”

  • Yves

    @leroy Mav jerseys ugly… No offense.

  • Yves

    And they lack youTh and even pieces for deron to go to dallas… Unless howard goes there first.