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Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Lockout levity: Philly not coming to town

By Jeff Caplan

So, here we are two days before Thanksgiving and we still can't find any NBA games on TV. It says here that the Dallas Mavericks are at home tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Oh wait, it also says: Canceled.

The NBA lockout is certainly taking a toll on everyone from fans to the hundreds of arena workers who aren't working nearly as much as the holiday season approaches. Bah! Humbug!

Now that this fight pitting millionaire athletes vs. billionaire owners is tied up in the legal system, who knows when the NBA will lift the lockout and start the 2011-12 season. Games are officially canceled through Dec. 15. But, it's hard to see any games being played before the new year at this point.

So three full weeks into the regular season that isn't, we figured with each canceled game why not pay homage to what might have been.

Today's canceled game: vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Game No.: 11

Mavs pretend record: 6-4

Last year's matchup: Last November, the Mavs won at the American Airlines Center, 99-90, with an unsual box score that saw J.J. Barea score a team-high 19 points and Brendan Haywood pull down 17 rebounds as Dallas started the season 6-2. On March 1 in Philly, Jason Terry scored 30 and Jason Kidd had triple-double with 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in the 101-93 victory, the Mavs' seventh in a row to improve its record to sterling 44-16. The bad news coming out of the game was that Tyson Chandler left with a sprained right ankle that would force him out of the next three games. Dallas' win streak ended at eight.

What might have been: Doug Collins' reclamation project enters Year 2 (eventually) after the team made it back to the playoffs last season with a 41-41 record. With new ownership in place, an actual season might actually have good vibes floating around the 76ers again. With Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Lou Williams, Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala andThaddeus Young, this Philly team actually would have provided an entertaining night of early season hoops at the American Airlines Center. ... Who knows who would even be on the Mavs' roster right now. Chandler? He has serious doubts that the Mavs can re-sign him under a new CBA. Caron Butler? Barea? The Custodian?

What's been missed: The Mavs have obviously missed getting their championship rings and raising the banner. Maybe even a championship hangover. Among the first 10 games canceled, Dallas has seen games against the Chicago Bulls,San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies thrown into the trash bin.

Next canceled game: Wednesday at Houston.