It may be too early to get optimistic, after all as any coach will tell you in the generic CoachSpeak that dominates press conferences, it is a long season.
Injuries are a large part of the season. In almost every season, some teams have major injuries and seemingly fall apart. The Dallas Mavericks appeared to be on the verge not too long ago. The last four games have been encouraging partially because over the past month, the Mavericks looked, well, pretty awful. They looked so bad in a loss to Toronto about a month ago that I was about ready to name them Cavs South. It is a simple fact that teams rarely are as good or as bad as their fans want to think at various times of the season with the exception, of course, for the Cavs. The team's performance as about as attractive as Tim Duncan in a tutu.
Moving forward, it might be possible that Dirk Nowitzki sustaining a knee strain might not be all bad, it forced the team to look elsewhere for scoring, and in recent games others have stepped up including Tyson Chandler, Jason Terry, and J.J. Barea. Having a one dimensional scoring team is one of the worst things that can happen, especially in the playoffs, any NBA coach given a little time can design a defense to shut down one player.
Having only one player as a consistent scoring threat is the kiss of death in the playoffs. With five players in double digits against the Wizards, the defense has to account for more players, gone are the times when the only way the Mavericks scores on the inside post is when someone accidentally banked a pass off Dampier‘s rock hands.
Tyson Chandler, more than any other player has changed the dynamics of the team, and put pressure on the other team's defense. It also appears to be making some difference psychologically on the team, they seem to believe they can win games at the end, and that they can do it to some extent with the defense, but also with some diversity of scoring.
So as most of us in Dallas, have to deal with the arrival of an arctic air mass, the Mavericks appear to be heating up. It would be a mistake to think that everything is sunshine and daffodils but the Mavericks do appear to be improving on both ends of the court and in their attitude toward the game. While it is important to guard against being too positive, we have already had significant ups and downs this season, I am optimistic, I feel good about the team and the season, I would feel better if I was not freezing my cackles off.