They have no Jason Terry, a man so absurdly confident that he had a tattoo of the NBA Finals trophy inked to his right bicep the summer before the Mavs won the title.
“I get asked about that all the time,” Terry said in a recent phone interview. “It was crazy. Would I do it again in that situation? You know … probably. I’m a speak-it-into-existence type of a person.”
Mavs center Willie Cauley-Stein has no less than 54,235 tats, but no Larry O’Brien trophy.
As we slowly witness the disintegration of the 2020-21 Mavericks, we see what they are lacking, which includes interior defense and the confidence of a player whose experiences and mouth helped carry them to their one NBA title.
The Jet said immediately after the Mavs’ Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat: “I’m welcoming the challenge. We’re going to see if he can do it for seven games. That’s going to be the challenge. Right now, it’s Game 4. Can he do it again in Game 4? He wasn’t able to do it in Game 2. He did it in Games 1 and 3, so Game 4 is another opportunity.”
All of us who were standing around Terry at his locker when he ran his mouth thought the cough syrup had kicked in. Or he was stoned. Definitely stupid.
You don’t walk into the tiger’s cage and taunt him with a medium rare rib eye (BTW, same goes for me).
“I said it because of the experience I had in the postseason to that point; I had already played in one Finals, and had the confidence in myself and my teammates,” said Terry, who is now an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Arizona.
“I knew the work that we had put in. I saw the way the defense was covering me, and I knew it would be a matter of time before I’d break through. That moment was not too big for me.”
The Mavericks did not lose another game in that series; in one of the most amazing NBA Finals facts ever, Jason Terry punked LeBron James the rest of the way in what is the last playoff series win for the Mavericks.
These Mavericks are not a confident team despite the presence of the Slovenian Star, Luka Doncic.
Who on this roster is going to say, “Let’s see Kawhi do it again.”?
Because they know he’s going to do it again.
Who on this Mavs roster is going tire of Clippers forward Marcus Morris’ trash antics, and say, “Let him try that again and let’s see what happens.”?
Even when the Mavs built their 2-0 lead in Los Angeles, they looked surprised. Because they were.
After a pair of double-digit losses at home, Game 5 is Wednesday in Los Angeles. The Clippers are a 7-point favorite.
In the last two games the Mavs defense has been exposed, as Clippers stars Leonard and Paul George are getting good looks from virtually any spot on the floor.
In the last two games, they have combined to make 41-of-66 their shots from the floor and an average 57 points.
And speaking of depressing, since the Mavs led the Clippers 30-11 with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter of Game 3, they have been outscored by 54 points.
In some form or another, Terry went through all of this before he had his tattoo artist put that trophy on his bicep.
By the time the Mavs reached the 2011 Finals, he was 33 and had been in the NBA for 12 seasons.
He knew he was good, and he knew Dirk Nowitzki was the best.
“I was the guy brought in after Steve Nash, and in our second (playoff) series we got eliminated because of a mistake I made against him,” he said. “My relationship with Dirk wasn’t the best in the beginning. It was a little rocky. Through time, seeing what a hard worker he was, and I was just as hard of a worker he was, we developed a bond that was inseparable.”
If the Mavs are going to defeat the L.A. Clippers they have to actually believe they can do it.
Maybe they should get a tattoo.