Jet And The Mavs' Imaginary 'Bitter Rivals'

Jason Terry made mention of playing "bitter rivals" in Tuesday's game against Golden State. Bitter memories, to be sure. And tonight comes the Nets -- and more memories. Avery is with New Jersey. That's a change. Nellie wasn't with those Warriors. That's a change. Things change … But how much, I wondered?

Those playoffs against those Warriors were only three-and-a-half years ago, in May 2007. Both teams have been altered somewhat, obviously. But exactly how much? Off to the record books I scampered, and here's what I found.

First, Jet's "bitter'' interview. ...

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Now, when Jet was done with FS Southwest and Rhadigan, and he went in the Mavs locker room to discuss the bitter rivalry, who would he have been able to share the memories with? Almost no one.

Besides Jet, only two other Mavs from those 2007 playoffs still remain, Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea (who was a rarely-played rookie that year). It's interesting to note that while we rabid Mavs fans tend to think of "Dirk and others" as more or less the same ongoing roster every season, in fact the Mavs have changed essentially the whole team around Dirk in only those three-and-a-half years.

What happened to those other Mavs from the 67-win juggernaut that lost way too quickly?

*Coach Avery Johnson - head coach NJ … and we'll see him tonight in what might be a "bittersweet'' deal for some.
*Howard - WAS
*Stackhouse – MIA (on and off)
*Harris – NJ (see you tonight, Devin!)
*Diop - CHA
*George - free agent
*Buckner - retired
*Dampier - MIA
*Croshere - retired
*Ager - MIN

So how about the Warriors? Is this Golden State team still that playoff rival Jet recalls?


About all that remains anymore is the laundry. Only two from those 2007 playoffs were on Tuesday's roster, Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins.

The rest of that team? The list of those who participated in the playoff series against Dallas now looks like this:

*Coach Don Nelson – retired ("Coaching the Sea Turtle Races in Maui,'' Donnie says.)
*Azubuike - NYK
*Barnes - LAL
*Davis - LAC
*Foyle - retired, works in Orlando front office
*Harrington - DEN
*SJackson - CHA
*Pietrus - ORL
*Powell - ATL
*Richardson - PHX
*Jasikevicius - Europe

The truth, it seems, it that fans have long memories. And Jet has a long memory – along with an ability to create motivational obstacles to hurdle over (like all his "bitter rivals.'') But otherwise?

Well, it's neat to read about Avery reflecting on his days in Dallas (tonight will be his first try at beating the Mavs as a head coach) ... and doing so with fondness. He is saying good things about everyone from Cuban on down, and noting that two-and-7/8th-game lead in the Finals, saying, "More than anything, [I remember] that [13]-point lead with five minutes to go and we just could not get a bucket. I just felt awfully bad for our team. And I would do anything to have that moment back again. And I know Dallas would love to be back in the Finals again."

Hey, we all probably need to get over that, too.

This is sports. Things change.

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