1982-1983

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A Contender In The Making

During the 1982-83 season the Mavericks gave indications that they were a team on the move. They finished at 38-44, 10 games better than the previous year and the third-best improvement in the NBA. Even more telling, the league was beginning to view the Mavericks not as an expansion team but as a dangerous opponent.

Won 38, lost 44 (fourth, Midwest)...10-game increase in wins over 1981-1982 represented the third-best improvement in the league. Mark Aguirre's 24.4 ppg ranked as sixth-best in the NBA. On January 14, just 10 days after totaling only 84 points in a loss at Washington, the Mavericks broke the club's single-game scoring record in a 149-139 win over Denver. Rolando Blackman's 31 points led the charge, while Mark Aguirre collected the first triple-double in franchise history with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and 16 assists. Dallas defeated Golden State on January 18, making Motta the fifth NBA coach to log 600 career wins. Four days later the Mavericks humbled Utah, 126-88; the 38-point win was Dallas's largest margin of victory ever. Four days later the Mavs concluded a five-game winning streak with a victory over the Kansas City Kings.

The Mavericks continued to roll as Aguirre scored 44 points to key a February 6 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Heading into the All-Star break Dallas had won 12 of its last 15 games and had climbed into second place in the Midwest Division with a 25-24 record.

The team fell off its cloud in the second half of the season. The Mavericks were challenging for a playoff spot until they went into a seven-game slump with two weeks left in the stretch run. Out of the playoffs, Dallas rolled over in the final game of the year, watching the San Antonio Spurs run to an NBA-record .707 shooting percentage and a 132-120 victory. Despite the disappointing finish, 1982-83 had been a season of promise for Dallas. The Mavericks ranked fifth in the league in team scoring (112.7 ppg) and committed fewer turnovers (16.4 per game) than any other team. Mark Aguirre paced Dallas in scoring with 24.4 points per game, sixth in the NBA; he was backed by Jay Vincent (18.7 ppg) and Rolando Blackman (17.7). Brad Davis placed among the league's top 10 in three categories; eighth in field-goal percentage (.572, the best ever by a guard), tenth in assists (7.2 apg), and sixth in free-throw percentage (.845) The franchise strengthened its young roster in the 1983 NBA Draft by selecting Derek Harper, a 6-4 guard from the University of Illinois. Harper went on to average 15.0 points and 6.1 assists over the next decade.


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