Mavs Serve An Undercooked Burger In OT Win - As They 'Drive For Five'

The Mavs Are An Undercooked Burger In OT Win Over Visiting Denver. ... But Their 'Drive For Five' Goes 'Official.'

 The Dallas Mavericks employ one of the greatest sales-and-marketing staffs in all of sports. Even when the Mavs are mediocre -- and I will argue that even in Friday's 122-116 OT win over visiting Denver, the Mavs were mediocre -- the creativity and execution of the fine folks in those other two wings. So how in the heck did they fail to label the Dirk Nowitzki-themed delicacy soon being served to fans at the AAC anything but "The Würzburger''?!

It features a "Bavarian pretzel'' bun and "jalapeno beer cheese'' and "bacon onion marmalade''and all the parts individually seem fine but the final result rings wrong. "Dirkburger''? No.

IT MUST BE "The Würzburger,'' PEOPLE!

Aw, maybe I'm just upset as I grapple with whether to give our Mavs any credit for what is just a third win in their last nine games, credit for staying in sixth place at 31-28 and fending off Portland, Utah and Houston from behind ... all the while knowing that sixth place -- an accomplishment if it really happens -- nets you a first-round playoff dance with, oh, OKC, and that doesn't sound nearly as tasty as a "Bavarian pretzel'' bun and "jalapeno beer cheese'' and "bacon onion marmalade'' all over my $12 "Würzburger.''

Of course, I know it's not just me. If you attended the game, you may have uttered a "boo'' in the first half. If you heard those boos, you are not alone.

"To the fans that didn't boo, the fans that remained confident in us, we appreciate that,'' said Wes Matthews, who surely also understands the mindset of those ticket-buyers who chose to express their disatisfaction in their own ways. (See all the locker-room stuff here in Mavs-Nuggets Quoteboard.)

There is, Wes knows, an even better way to answer the catcalls.

 We've talked alot about the Mavs in "clutch time'' and while those numbers are fading a bit, Dallas has now played in an NBA-high 10 OT games and is 7-3 in those ... so the Mavs do something right there. 

“It was huge,” Chandler Parsons said of Dallas' climb from an early 23-point hole. “We obviously don’t want to get down that much and have to fight back. It makes it that much more difficult for us, but we’re playing for something special. We’re trying to get that fifth seed, make a run here and be playing the best basketball we have down the stretch.''

But mounting this largest-comeback-of-the-season comeback should've been so unneccessary. Dallas has more talent than Denver and Dallas has more chemistry than Denver amd there is a very real motivation here; you see Parsons very openly noting the "Drive For Five'' (because sixth is "bleccchhh''). So something is, I dunno, missing.

How else to explain/question this team's habit of what some would call "playing down to its competition'' but what might truly be some facts about what the Mavs truly are in comparison to the Denvers of the West: Plodding away to keep the Treadmill of Mediocrity from overtaking them.

“They’re extremely athletic and quick, and it looked like we were a step slow with our big lineup,” Dirk said of the 23-36 Nuggets and maybe there are two nuggets to be mined there:

One, if Denver is truly "extremely athletic and quick'' (and Dirk's not just being politely hyperbolic) then we've pinpointed a flaw and maybe the flaw around here.

Two, a sluggish "big lineup'' might now draw coach Rick Carlisle into a habit that I think reeks of desperation -- maybe appropriate desperation -- SmallBall. To the Mavs' credit, more Ray-Ray and less Zaza actually worked. Felton was huge in Dallas' second-half surge, scored eight of the 14 points Dallas managed in OT and totaled 16 points, six assists and a key late-game steal.

"We made some changes because they were playing small and we needed to get more attackers out there, and we made a big run,'' Carlisle said. "(Felton) is a gamer, a big-game guy,” Carlisle said of Felton. “He’s been coming through for us all year in a lot of these instances, but I don’t know if any effort was bigger than tonight’s. You look at it and look at all the guys’ plus/minuses. He’s a plus-30 in this game and there were a lot of minuses. And the steal at the end of regulation really was the game-changer. That was a huge play that he made.”

Again, it worked. And Felton's success is a rallying point with his teammates, which draws us away from the "talent-edge'' argument (because I'm just not certain Ray Felton as a foundation piece is all that positive a thing) and toward the "chemistry-edge'' argument. 

Said Felton: "I’m the type of person that I don’t shy away from anything, and I’m not scared of anything.''

Meanwhile, Zaza also said all the right things about losing his minutes, even as Carlisle mentioned his consideration of more SmallBall in the future, meaning Dirk at center and if you are looking for a ringing endorsement from this space, don't bother.

Nowitzki scored 20 here, supplementing Parsons' 27. Newcomer David Lee came off the bench to score 14 points and grab 14 rebounds. They are all, of course, candidates asking for your vote for "The Dirkie.'' They are also all answers for how to keep working to get this right, continuing Sunday with another visit from another lotto team in the West in the T'Wolves (quasi-featuring the dangling Kevin Martin and the Mavs' "possible-pursuit'' interest.)


“We’re having struggles right now, but we’ve got to clear our heads and get ready for Sunday,'' said Carlisle, and as long as the Mavs are admitting struggles and taking orders, I'd like my burger cooked just right and re-named, thank you.

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