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News » Sudden ups and downs aren't that unusual Amid inconsistency, Thomas proves his value off the bench

Sudden ups and downs aren't that unusual Amid inconsistency, Thomas proves his value off the bench

Sudden ups and downs aren't that unusual Amid inconsistency, Thomas proves his value off the bench INDIANAPOLIS - There's a reason no NBA team, no matter how good it might be, ever goes 82-0.

It's the same reason nobody - not even the New Jersey Nets this season - will ever go 0-82.

Teams do not show up every night. That's a fact proven by the Mavericks in the span of 24 hours. They flopped Tuesday night at home against Golden State, playing a game the coach called "very unintelligent." Then they pitch-forked the Rockets in Houston by 31 points the following evening.

Playing hard all the time would seem to be a no-brainer for world-class athletes making, in most cases, millions of dollars. But coaches 20 years ago were trying to figure out how to keep their team from folding in a game they had no business losing. And 20 years from now, they'll still be trying to figure it out.

What the Mavericks proved Wednesday was that they at least know how to respond after laying a monumental egg. They scored 26 consecutive points to lap the Rockets in the first half and put the game away.

They also found out that Tim Thomas will be an important piece to this team if it's going to be a serious contender.

The 6-10 Thomas came off the bench for 23 points in the 130-99 win over the Rockets on Wednesday. He and Jason Terry (27 points) were the reasons they broke free with a 26-0 blitz that turned the game into a breeze.

Thomas missed all of training camp and the first 11 games while recovering from September knee surgery. Thomas, Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion are in the same boat. They are veterans who have made a lot of money in their careers and are with the Mavericks at, essentially, a reduced rate.

And they are here for one reason.

"The main thing was to come in and help these guys get over the hump," Thomas said. "They're going to be in the playoffs. That's no question. But to try to put a team together that will make a run for a couple years, that's the key.

"I truly believe that's everybody's mind-set. Guys are really going after it. Let's play as hard as we can in the regular season, establish ourselves and then let's go after the whole thing."

It's confounding that the Mavericks have a better road record (6-2) than home record (5-2). But that can happen with a team that has plenty of veterans who become virtually immune to the pitfalls of playing on the road.

What also can happen is that they get a little bored at times, which might explain the Golden State game, although it certainly doesn't excuse it.

Coach Rick Carlisle is a fan of having big men who can shoot the ball. When you have Dirk Nowitzki, you'd better love a big man who can shoot.

Thomas is similar in that respect. He made four of eight 3-point tries against Houston. But there's more to his game, Carlisle said.

"Not only did he make shots and do great things offensively, he took hard fouls," Carlisle said. "He's a guy who has made an awful lot of money in his career and came here for a substantial pay cut to be on a good team. I've got a lot of respect for that. And he's showing our guys how he can be valuable for us."

Follow-up on a follow-up: The Mavericks were buzzing after Wednesday's game about Thomas' dunk on a follow-up of a miss by Jason Terry.

But Terry was more impressed with Thomas' 4-of-8 3-point shooting.

"If he was white, he'd be Dirk," Terry said of Thomas' ability to spread the court with his shooting ability. Before Terry could explain what he meant, Nowitzki chirped up: "That dunk he had definitely wasn't white."

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 28, 2009


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