Despite everything you've heard about the Dallas Mavericks recently, they are right where they want to be.
Remember back to roughly 11 months ago when the Mavs were abruptly ushered out of the 1st round of the playoffs. The thought was that Avery Johnson had pushed his team too hard during the regular season. The thought was that his team was rusty after resting the starters for nearly the last 2 weeks of the season.
Throughout this season, the Mavs have tried to go about things exactly opposite of last season. Avery even saying 6 weeks ago that the reason his team wasn't playing championship basketball was because it wasn't time yet. There was little importance placed on the regular season from Game 1 this time around. The only goal was to make the playoffs, and they wanted to be forced to compete right up to the end of the season so that there would be no thought given to resting the starters.
Eventhough the Mavs are 0-7 against teams over .500 since the Jason Kidd trade, they are right where they want to be. It's not like they've been blown out in those 7 games. In fact their average margin of loss was just 6.4 points. They were in every one of those games, things just didn't fall their way.
The Mavs are getting everything they wanted: They will make the playoffs, they haven't been pushed hard this year and won't be worn out, they are having to fight all the way to the finish of the regular season, and they are still playing at the same level as the rest of the West.
They'll beat these teams in the playoffs, and they'll be back in the Western Confrence Finals.
Don't believe the hype, everything is going just like the Mavs wanted. The feeling is 180 degrees different than it was this time last and the means the result will follow suit.
Mark Van Paasschen