Fact: since I’ve become a Dallas Mavericks fan, they haven’t lost a game. In fact, after last night’s brutal beating of the Suns, the giant star in the center of the solar system that inspired the team name didn’t even bother rising this morning, plunging the Earth into endless night like some kind of overused science fiction plot. Way to upset the planet’s most vital source of energy, Mavs.
Thanks to the delightful invention that is NBA League Pass, I was able to watch every second of the massacre last night. Shockingly, I can already feel the results of all this Mavericks research kicking in, and I was inappropriately pleased at the positive results. I was legitimately affected when I saw my first Dirk Nowitzki field goal, when Deron Williams went down and grabbed his knee, and when rookie Justin Anderson split two defenders to lay one in for his first two NBA points as the final seconds ticked away.
Back to Nowitzki for a second. There aren’t many players left in the league from the time I was watching regularly, but as a rookie in the 1998-99 season, he comes about as close as anyone. Only Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan date back further, and that’s some pretty exclusive company. When you watch players as good as Nowitzki in the twilight of their careers, an orb of white light seems to surround them every time they touch the ball. All movement slows to half-speed and a choir sings the music of the angels. The player’s whole career flashes through your head, the torturously brief athlete’s circle of life nearly complete, and you feel something tugging at you inside, conjuring up images of finality and creating that dull ache — almost a tickle — in your lower abdomen that reveals itself whenever you have a realization of how fleeting life really is.
I haven’t seen much of the German Giant’s career, but he was there when basketball lost its hold on me, and he’s been relentlessly draining threes the entire time I’ve been away. The fact that he’s still doing it upon my return feels special, and I’m sincerely glad I have a chance to watch him a little before he goes where all retired legends go: either to the cornfields of Kevin Costner’s backyard or in the studio with Shaquille O’Neal, depending on whom you ask.
Dramatic sentiment aside, when Nowitzki got the ball near the short corner at the end of the first quarter and connected with a 16-footer over Mirza Teletovic, I felt like I had finally been christened as a fan. Until the face of the franchise gets his first bucket, you haven’t really gotten to properly experience fandom, right?
I’d be lying if I said I expected such a contribution from Raymond Felton, the Maverick who got the most attention in the opener. I know he had several solid seasons as a point guard in his early days, but the stats indicate he was an afterthought at best last year, and the projections basically disregarded him. The fact that Chandler Parsons isn’t quite ready for action no doubt had a big hand in Felton getting 33 minutes last night, but even so, he was not one of the players I was looking out for, and if he’s the star of the game too often this season, that doesn’t sound like a good sign at all.
The bottom line is that the Suns looked exceptionally sloppy last night and probably could have been dismantled by any team with that kind of performance. A much bigger test awaits tonight, and I’ve already learned all about the offseason debacle that was the failed attempt to woo DeAndre Jordan away from his Clippers pals. I sparked the Mavs to their first win of the season with my high-intensity research over the past two days, but I’m not sure I have enough to help them compete with the likes of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Jordan.
Then again, with the sun being out of commission, none of us are long for the world anyway, so we should all get our priorities in order and stop worrying about little things like the wins and losses of an NBA team.