Dallas Mavericks: Joe DeRosa
It is almost impossible, in any sport at any time, to find another team that achieved the franchise's proudest moment and its most shameful in the same season. It happened to the Dallas Mavericks in the span of a month.
Dallas stunned San Antonio in an epic seven-game series and then overcame Phoenix to advance to its first NBA Finals. After going up 2-0 on Miami, the City of Dallas began plans for a parade as the series shifted to South Beach. Once there, everything fell apart. On their way to a commanding 3-0 lead, the Mavs unraveled in the late stages of Game 3 and the Dwyane Wade-led Heat stole the show.
After the Mavs lost Game 5 in the final seconds on, yes, Wade free throws, Cuban became irate, running on the court, shouting at official Joe DeRosa, then screaming in the direction of the scorer's table near where commissioner David Stern was seated. Stern later told Dan Patrick on ESPN Radio that he thought Cuban's behavior was hurting his team. Stern fined Cuban $250,000 at the end of the series for "repeated misconduct."
The rest is torturous history for the Mavs. Still, this was a club that figured to be back, to make another run in 2006-07. But, what happened next was almost as unthinkable as the failed Finals.
Coach: Avery Johnson
Record: 60-22 (2nd, Southwest Division)
Playoffs: defeated Memphis (4-0), defeated San Antonio (4-3), defeated Phoenix (4-2), lost to Miami (4-2)
Team payroll: $98.45*
Highest-paid player: Michael Finley ($15.9**); Keith Van Horn ($15.7)*
Offseason transactions: Signed G/F Doug Christie (free agent); Signed C DeSagana Diop (free agent); Signed F Rawle Marshall (free agent); Signed F Josh Powell (free agent).
In-season transaction: Nov. 25, 2005: Waived Doug Christie; Nov. 28, 2005: Signed G/F Adrian Griffin (free agent);
The high: Along with the Spurs, the Mavs became the only other team to have won 50-plus games in each of the previous six seasons. Dallas won 60 games for the second time in four seasons. The Mavs returned the favor on Steve Nash and the Suns with a 4-2 series win in the West finals. That came, of course, after the monumental victory over the Spurs in the second round. The heated series, in which the Mavs took a 3-1 lead only to see it vanish as quickly as a Jason Terry sucker punch to the groin of new Spur and former Mav Michael Finley. The series headed back to San Antonio for Game 7, which goes down as the greatest moment in franchise history. Dirk Nowitzki was the hero with a 37-point, 15-rebound effort in the 119-111 overtime victory. It reached overtime thanks to Nowitzki's drive to the basket and a controversial foul called on Manu Ginobili to send Nowitzki to the free-throw line for the memorable and-1.
F Dirk Nowitzki (team-leading 26.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg)
G Jason Terry (17.1 ppg, team-highs 171 3FGs, 41.1% 3FGs)
F Josh Howard (15.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg)
G/F Jerry Stackhouse (13.0 ppg in 55 games)
G/F Marquis Daniels (10.2 ppg, started 33 of 62 games)
G Devin Harris (9.9 ppg, started four of 56 games)
F Keith Van Horn (8.9 ppg in 53 games)
C Erick Dampier (5.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, played 82 games)
G/F Adrian Griffin (4.6 ppg in 52 games)
G/F Doug Christie (played just seven games, then waived)
F Rawle Marshall (3.1 ppg in 23 games)
C Pavel Podkolzin (played in one game)
F Josh Powell (3.0 ppg in 37 games)
C DeSagana Diop (2.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg in 81 games)
G Darrell Armstrong (2.1 ppg in 62 games)
F Alan Henderson (3.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 15.4 mpg)
C DJ Mbenga (1.7 ppg in 43 games)
**The Mavericks waived Michael Finley, taking advantage of a one-time amnesty provision that allowed them to avoid luxury taxes on the $51.8 million owed him over the next three years. Finley became an unrestricted free agent and joined the San Antonio Spurs, although the Mavs remained on the hook to pay his full salary.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.