Mavs Go Streaking
The Dallas Mavericks are riding a streak again, now winning 19 of the last twenty-two games. So what's changed since the 0-4 start?
For one, Josh Howard and Devin Harris have stepped up their defense. Howard is becoming the defensive stopper the Mavericks thought he would be. He's been good, but now he's shutting down the other team's top players. Most recently he has given Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant fits. Take note. Howard was on the becnh resting for most of Kobe's 17-point third period the other night.
Harris has been nearly as stifling as Howard. He's harrassing the other team's point and can guard the twos and threes as well. He wasn't an instant classic but is slowly growing into one of the Mavs most complete players.
But even more startling is Erick Dampier's recent discovery of instensity. He's finally nearing that double-double average the Mavs looked for when they signed him three years ago. On Wednesday night he posted 22 points and 16 rebounds to bail out the Mavs after dirk Nowitzki went down. Does that mean he's proving he's worth $70 million? Not yet, but he's getting closer.
All of this has me thinking the Mavs will be serious contender come May '07. Sure, there's the Spurs, and the Jazz and Suns are flat scary right now. But the Mavs have to be included in any discussion about Western Conference elites.