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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Lockout levity: No false celebrating in H-town

By Jeff Caplan

Nothing screams Thanksgiving like a good, old-fashioned anti-trust lawsuit. That's the state of the NBA these days: No games on the court and lawsuits in the court.

If you're interested in a detailed account of the players' anti-trust suit filed against the NBA, what it means and how it might lead to the sides getting back together as we enter this "nuclear winter," read this piece on Grantland.com written by Gabe Feldman, law professor at Tulane Law School and the director of the Tulane Sports Law Program.

With that, let's take a look at what would have been a pretty good Southwest Division matchup tonight.

Today's canceled game: at Houston Rockets

Game No.: 12

Mavs pretend record: 7-4

Last year's matchup: Nothing could stick out more than the Mavs' final visit to Houston in their second-to-last game of the season. It was a 98-91 overtime victory, but Dallas played a real stinker against a depleted Rockets team that started guys named Gragic, Patterson, Budinger, Hayes and Martin. OK, so you know Kevin Martin, but the point is for a team priming for the playoffs, the Mavs had the look of a one-and-done outfit. Of course, the capper was Jason Terry spreading his wings and flying downcourt in celebration after he missed a free throw with the game tied. The clock ran out and Terry was ready to fly right into the locker room because he didn't know the score. He thought the game was over. It was the latest of a string of strange behavior from Terry, who seemed to be dangerously approaching an imploding point at the absolute worst time. We now know that he incredibly pulled himself together and posted the postseason of his life. Otherwise, the Mavs won all four games in the series.

What might have been: This is so hard to say because we don't even know who will remain for the Mavs, most notably Tyson Chandler. The Rockets, meanwhile, have a current payroll of under $50 million and through trades and free agency could add some impact pieces. What if Houston made enough cap room to woo Chandler? Martin and Luis Scola are the main pieces there and they really like Patrick Patterson, who hopes to begin his second season in the league some time soon.

What's been missed: The Mavs have obviously missed getting their championship rings and raising the banner. Among the first 12 games canceled, this one is already the fourth division game wiped out -- San Antonio Spurs and two against the Memphis Grizzlies -- plus one of just three scheduled games with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Next canceled game: Friday at Denver Nuggets