Last week, I was preparing to write one of those "we believe" kind of articles that was going to link the 1994-1995 Houston Rockets with the late season acquisition of Clyde Drexler to the current edition of the Dallas Mavericks.
I was prepared to talk about the Rockets of 1995 entering the playoffs as the sixth seed, but improving game-by-game in the playoffs until they reached their potential and became "unbeatable." And how the Rockets carved their way through 3 teams with 60 wins or more to win the championship, despite a shaky transition period while integrating Clyde.
I was ready to go out on a limb and say these Dallas Mavericks were ready to follow that same path. That they were finally coming together as a team and to actually be better in the playoffs than they were at any point in the regular season.
Then, thankfully, the Portland and Seattle games happened. Two lottery bound teams between match ups of playoff contenders. Two good warm up matches that the Mavericks could use to tune up and begin flexing their muscles.
TWO Loses! ? Que?
Thank you for bringing me back down to reality. Yes, this is a very capable and talented team that can, I still believe, beat anybody. But, they are still lacking that confidence and chemistry. They still can't get the job done night after night. Even against less than capable competition.
Now, I can safely enter the 2008 NBA playoffs with few expectations for the Mavericks. Lots of hope. But few expectations. Unlike the last 2, or 4, editions of the Mavericks, there is nothing this team could do in the playoffs that would disappoint me.
0-4 sweep by the Hornets. Fine.
7 game nail-biter against the Hornets. Fine.
Getting blasted in the second round. Fine.
Getting blasted in the Western Conference Finals. Fine.
This team has already disappointed me.
The 2008 Dallas Mavericks are Cousin Eddy. They might make you proud. They might really mess up. They might show some promise and THEN really mess up. But, you've lived with Cousin Eddy in your life for so long you are immune to the disappointment.
Obviously, the implication is that by being Cousin Eddy you don't ever really expect the ultimate success. And that is very true of this Mavericks team. The only thing they could do to shock me would be to win the whole darn championship.
This team has the talent and the superstar to win each and every series set before them. Yes, I believe they can win any of those series. But I just can't convince myself that this is a team ready to make a championship run of destiny.
On the other hand, I pretty much felt the same way about the Rockets back in 1995. Though, I was probably not quite as harshly disappointed in that team. I just couldn't find the fire in the team that had pushed them through the previous season's championship. And so I really didn't expect them to make the run they had.
So, once again. Thank you Portland and Seattle for busting my bubble before the playoffs began. I'll be able to enjoy the whole thing a lot better from this perspective.