Over a month ago, when the COVID-19 outbreak was just getting started in America, and when the NBA was discussing the possibility of going forward without any fans in attendance, the Dallas Mavericks were hosting the Denver Nuggets in a potential playoff preview at the AAC on Mar. 11. Dallas picked up one of their most impressive wins of the season by routing the then-second seed in the Western Conference by the score of 113-97.
But before the game even finished, the camera found owner Mark Cuban react to the news on his phone that the NBA suspended all action indefinitely because of the Coronavirus pandemic. That was the last game before the association put everything on hold.
Fan-favorite veteran Boban Marjanovic came off the bench and had his best game as a Maverick with 31 points and 17 rebounds in 31 minutes played. Second-year all-star Luka Doncic played 40 minutes and dropped 28 points.
If the playoffs started, Dallas would play the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round and many would agree that this would be the least desirable matchup with their veteran and defensive presence, with Denver being a more favorable opponent.
Many of us thought that this team was at least another year away from being back in the playoffs, but with this young team showing off what they are capable of going forward, they have surpassed expectations and are firmly in the seat to clinch a playoff spot and snap their four-year playoff drought.
They have not won a playoff series since the championship season in 2011, almost a decade ago.
When Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are both healthy and on the court together, they are one of the most formidable duos in the NBA. Lately, if there is one thing Dallas is really figuring out, it would be closing out games in clutch time, but that comes with being a young team.
By next year and beyond, watch out, because the Mavericks are coming back!