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Dallas: From Also Ran to NBA Finalist


PhilBoxing.com




Despite getting dispatched by the Boston Celtics in just five games in the recently concluded 2023-24 NBA Finals, Dallas can draw consolation in the fact that it has progressed that far from failing to make the playoffs in the 2022-23 season.

The Mavericks finished at eleventh in the Western Conference last year with a record of 38-44, 15 games behind then eventual WCF winners and NBA champions, Denver Nuggets.

Dallas then saw Kyrie Irving joining Luka Doncic as the team spearhead. In that squad who also played this season were Josh Green, Jalen Hardy, Tim Hardaway Jnr, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, though the last three were most of the times on injury list.

Prominently gone now are Spencer Dinwiddle, Markief Morris, Christian Wood, JaVale McGee, Dorian Finney Smith and Kemba Walker.

In their place, come Derrick Jones, Jnr, PJ Washington, Daniel Galford and Derrick Lively II who can be said as instrumental in the Mavs' tremendous improvement this season though Lively had to sit out some games due to injury issues.

But without doubt, Doncic and Irving remain the team's heart and soul.

This is attested by statistics with the two accounting for an average of more than 60 points, 14 rebounds, and more than 14 assists per game while logging an average combined 73 minutes of playing time.

Last season, Doncic played in total of only 66 games due to injury issues and averaged 36.2 minutes, 32.4 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 8 apg while Irving joining Dallas late in the season played in just 20 games averaging 38 minutes, 26.9 ppg, 5rpg and 6apg.

The two therefore held so much promise this season with their fuller team up.

And they did not disappoint as they led Dallas to a fifth seeding finish in the WCF with Doncic averaging 37.5 minutes per game, 33.9ppg, 9.2rpg and 9.8 apg in 70 games played and Irving playing in 58 games and averaging 35 minutes per game, 25.6 ppg, 5 rpg and 5.2 apg.

They could have done more if not for injury issues afflicting one or the other. With Irving out or hobbled, Doncic as can be seen has to turn in Jordanesque numbers in those games.

Or rely on the Dallas support crew to step up with the likes of Washington, Jones, Galford, Hardy and Lively were able to do but not in desired consistency.

Doncic and Irving are only human despite their oftentimes superhuman performance.

Dallas though can look forward to the next season for further improvements as the playoffs, especially the Finals with Boston, can make the support staff of sturdier stuff.

Congrats just the same to Dallas despite falling short of a second championship banner.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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