There’s some swagger in the Dallas Mavericks locker room right now. Not over-the-top, Sam Cassell “big balls dance” swagger, but a real, palpable confidence.
A blowout win can help with that confidence (even if it is against the Clippers, who have folded the tents on the season). But this is more than that, it is confidence of a veteran group that feels it has a real chance.
“I know this team is locked in. We’re ready,” Jason Terry said.
There was consistent talk of a veteran team that knows what is ahead of it.
“Our core nucleus of guys have been through all the battles and we feel it is our time,” Terry said.
Shawn Marion put the veteran thing more bluntly.
“We’re an old team,” he said. “We got a lot of guys who have been at different depths deep into the playoffs…. That experience will help us. With the depth we’ve got on this team we should be able to make a real good run.”
That attitude — confident and ready to go to work — was evident throughout the locker room. They were having some fun on the road. It was a contrast from the other big Western Conference power, the Lakers, where lately their locker room — just down the hall at Staples Center — has seen questions of confidence and execution. It has not seemed so sure of itself. Dallas does.
“This year our struggles have been when we didn’t bring it consistently on both ends of the floor,” Terry said, “We’d get big leads then we’d lose them. Now this is the time of year where you get a big lead you need to put them away. You get a lead in the playoffs you got to take advantage of it. I think our mind is right and we are ready to go forward.”
Pretty much everyone on the Mavericks sounded confident to a man… well, except coach Rick Carlisle. He’s paid to worry.
“We’re not where we need to be,” he said after the game. “We need to continue to work at playing better. Defense and rebounding is always going to be the starting point for us playing great basketball… We’ve taken some positive steps but we are by no means there.”
Even Carlisle had to admit that his team has looked good and been in a comfortable groove lately. Which of course for a coach is reason to worry.
“I don’t like being comfortable,” Carlisle said.