The Mavericks still haven't won an NBA title, but they have made it back to the Finals Wednesday night, completing an unexpected run through the Western Conference. As the playoffs approached, almost all national pundits declared the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder as the three "contenders" in the West. Season after season Dallas has won over 50 games and since 2006 they'd won just one playoff series. Even locally, given the team's poor finish, expectations were low. Many picked them to lose to the Blazers in the first round, due to that slow second half and some unfavorable matchups.â†µ
Add to that the fact that Dallas had lost Caron Butler, arguably their second best player and inarguably their most two-way player, at the start of 2011. Some had begun to believe that this team was different, but Butler's injury scuttled that talk.â†µ
They won their first two against Portland at home, but after a Game 3 loss and a heart wrenching loss in Game 4, in which they blew a 23-point lead in the last 13 minutes, locals were back in the duldrums and believing that this group may never win another road playoff game. Then came a 10-1 run through three series that has been nothing short of remarkable.
Is this the most surprising playoff run ever in this town?