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  • Ah, lot of sports teams like to put sayings up on the walls around the locker room.

  • The Spurs, for example, have framed a quote about pounding a rock, explaining that you can hammer Iraq 100 times without seeming much happening.

  • But when the rock splits on the 101st blow, it's the product of all the work that came before it.

  • I don't know what the Dallas Mavericks have up on their walls, but this year they may want to think about one of those motivational cat posters that says, It's not how you start.

  • It's how you finish.

  • After all, Dallas is start this season.

  • Not exactly peachy.

  • The team had one of the league's toughest early schedules.

  • It had injury issues.

  • Then it had covert issues like serious ones.

  • Three players were quarantined while on a road trip in Denver.

  • They had to stay locked in their hotel rooms for 10 days while the team carried on without them, and even once they were released, it was a struggle to get their conditioning back.

  • Combined that with the reduced offensive firepower they came with having traded away Seth Curry as well assume just outright lazy nights on defense and the math spot in the standings plummeted right along with Lucas M V P hopes.

  • Yet slowly, things in Dallas have been turning around.

  • The team has won four of its last five, and while there's still a long road to walk, at least the map seemed to be finally heading in the correct direction.

  • Like take last night, which kicked off with the mini controversy over the national anthem.

  • The maps had not been playing the anthem before this season, as Mark Cuban came on the jump yesterday and explained they had heard from a number of people and community groups saying the anthem doesn't represent them.

  • But after being overruled by the league office, the Mavs did in fact play the song last night.

  • And with all order, I guess, restored to the universe.

  • They got to go on with the business of trying to shut down the Atlanta Hawks, and it would not be easy.

  • John Collins had himself a night Trey Young was Trae Young, pushing Atlanta to a 13 point lead by the middle of the third quarter.

  • But then in the fourth, the Mavs surged, shooting 15 of 20 to 7 of nine from 33 teams.

  • Role players actually paid off all the space they were getting from the Hawks, doubling down check and managed to hold a one point lead with just five seconds left on the clock.

  • And that's when things got even more spicy.

  • The Hawks inbound to Danilo Gallinari.

  • He gets a decent, fading look that comes up short and the maps get the win.

  • But let's rewind.

  • Zoom in on young here.

  • He was setting a back screen for Collins when Willie Cauley Stein turned and ran into his face.

  • Young got back up, but as soon as the final buzzer sounded, he raced toward the officials, just livid about not getting the call afterward.

  • Here is both Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce and college screen Willie Cauley.

  • Stein ran tray over, and, um, that's a foul.

  • That's a foul.

  • That's why trains on the floor blows up our play.

  • Um, but it's unfortunate I don't even see trade.

  • So, um, he's a smart kid, and he's trying to get a quick well, Phablet shoot free throws to ice the game.

  • No way he was gonna give him that call for the game.

  • So good try, though that was smooth.

  • It was sneaky.

  • The officials confirm their ruling after the game.

  • But at least for the Mavericks, the story of the night was much bigger picture.

  • Last season, Dallas was notorious for folding late in games this season.

  • The numbers are much better with yes night.

  • Yet another example to give.

  • Mavericks fans hope the team can in fact salvage the season and climb into playoff contention in so many different ways.

  • Inside games inside a season.

  • It really is not how you start, but how you finish.

  • Keep the poster up and the sky's the limit.

  • So, Richard, what do you think success looks like now for the Dallas Mavericks?

  • Because, preseason, we were saying, Hey, top three in the West.

  • Luca, maybe for M V P.

  • We'll see what is success right now.

  • I think success right now for them is really just getting to the postseason and making some sort of run a second round.

  • You know, you gotta understand that everybody is dealing with stuff, whether it's Covic, you look at what's going on with the Nets and K D off the court and then quarantine for a second time, so everyone's dealing with things.

  • I think for the Dallas Mavericks.

  • They gotta get healthy.

  • They have to continue improving their defense and then they just have to kind of let play the cars that they've been dealt this year.

  • It's going to be the same for everyone.

  • I think the dust just have to settle off all the hype.

  • I think they left us super excited about the way they played last year in the bubble, particularly gets the playoffs against the Clippers in the playoffs.

  • And then all the hype surrounding Luca.

  • Odds on favorite to win M V P this year So there's so much hype on this young team coming into the season, I think that got into their heads.

  • Now the dust has started to clear their starting to find their footing there, only a game and a half out of eight, so toe picking it back off what Richard said.

  • Getting to the playoffs is definitely the goal.

  • But trying to get out of that first round to considering they really didn't improve this offseason and they let go somewhere like Seth Curry.

  • Yeah, look, they thought getting Josh Richardson back in that trade would boast of their defense, which was a big weak point for them last year.

  • But you've got to actually make the parts work when you switch parts around on.

  • The schedule has been tough, and I know that's not an excuse.

  • And Richard, you're right.

  • Everyone deals with that.

  • But they had what I believe was the league's hardest scheduled to start.

  • So the point is, when it gets easier now you have to take advantage.

  • They're starting to do that.

  • Thanks for watching ESPN on YouTube for live streaming sports and premium content subscribed to ESPN plus.

Ah, lot of sports teams like to put sayings up on the walls around the locker room.

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What does success look like for Luka Doncic and the Mavericks this season? | The Jump

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/14
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