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News » Underdog identity remains a Mavericks favorite With expectations low and the pressure light, team regains its edge


Underdog identity remains a Mavericks favorite With expectations low and the pressure light, team regains its edge


Underdog identity remains a Mavericks favorite With expectations low and the pressure light, team regains its edge
It wasn't a guarantee.

It was more of a promise.

Jason Terry declared before the playoffs began, before he knew San Antonio was the opponent, that the Mavericks would get out of the first round. Terry believed the emotional baggage that had dragged down the Mavericks in the last two postseasons had been shed.

It looks like he was right.

These Mavericks have always been at their best when expectations are lowest. They have shown us this side of their personality time and time again.

The Mavericks flourish in the underdog role. They play free and easy when no one thinks they will win. They embrace this role the way they never have as favorites.

Former coach Avery Johnson tried to flip the psychological switch. He made this a tougher team in many ways.

But he is a former coach today because he could not redefine the Mavericks' essential nature. He could not turn them into frontrunners.

How was that, Dr. Phil?

This series always meant more to the Mavericks than San Antonio.

So what if the Spurs advanced? This team knew it wasn't going to win the championship without Manu Ginobili.

The stakes were much higher for the Mavericks. Go out in the first round again and the perception persists that this is a damaged bunch that can't be saved. Another first-round failure would further invalidate their run to the Finals three short years ago.

The Mavericks needed this win for their image. They needed it to rebuild the trust that had been lost with their fans. They needed it more than a Spurs team that has four titles and wasn't going to add a fifth.

"I've really felt we're becoming a dangerous team," coach Rick Carlisle said. The Mavericks usually are in this role.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

 

 
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