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Mavericks have taken a step back

Dallas missed out on a true title defense and now the team's future is uncertain

Updated: May 4, 2012, 10:49 AM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Not to file the 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks' obituary prematurely, but it was the team's senior-most member and reigning NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki who succinctly put this strange trip of a season into perspective after Thursday night's Game 3 stunner.

"I don't think we took a step forward as a team," Nowitzki said. "We took a step back."

Few defending champions have had to make such a disappointing claim, let alone three games into the postseason. But the Oklahoma ...

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