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The Return To The Playoffs

Won 53, lost 29 (second, Midwest) - Dirk Nowitzki became only the second player in league history to have more than 100 3-pointers (151) made and 100 blocks (101) in a season (Robert Horry, 1995-1996); The Mavericks ended the longest playoff drought in the NBA by making their first postseason appearance in 11 years; After becoming just the sixth team in playoff history to erase a 0-2 deficit and win a five-game series over the Jazz, Dallas fell in the conference semifinals 4-1 to San Antonio; The Mavericks posted the second best improvement in the win column in the NBA (+13), behind only the Clippers (+16); The Mavericks finished the regular season as the only team in the league to finish in the top five in all of the following categories: points per game (100.5, 4th), field goal percentage (45.9%, 5th), free throw percentage (79.4%, 2nd) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.1%, 4th)…it was the first 50-win season in 13 years…the team recorded 25 road wins and its first-ever winning road record.

NOWITZKI EARNS ALL-NBA HONORS - Dirk Nowitzki became the first player in franchise history to earn All-NBA honors as he was named to the all-NBA third team.

NELLIE HONORED BY SPORTS ILLUSTRATED - Mavericks' head coach/general manager Don Nelson was named Sports Illustrated's "Executive of the Year. The magazine also selected Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki as third team All-NBA players.

NOWITZKI BECOMES ONE OF TWO - Dirk Nowitzki became only the second player in league history to have more than 100 3-pointers (151) made and 100 blocks (101) in a season. Robert Horry did it in 1995-1996 with Houston (142 3s and 109 blocks).

GLAD TO BE BACK - The Dallas Mavericks ended the longest playoff drought in the NBA by making their first postseason appearance in 11 years. The Mavericks went into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference after finishing the season 53-29.

POSTSEASON NOTES - The Mavericks made their seventh postseason appearance in 21 seasons. After becoming just the sixth team in playoff history to erase a 0-2 deficit and win a five-game series over the Jazz, Dallas fell in the conference semifinals 4-1 to San Antonio.

ONE OF THE TOP IMPROVEMENTS IN THE LEAGUE - The Dallas Mavericks posted the second best improvement in the win column in the NBA. The Mavericks had a +13 from as they went from 40 to 53 wins which was behind only the Clippers. The next best was a tie between Houston and Sacramento who each were a +11 and Milwaukee who was fifth with a +10.

FINISHING STRONG - When the schedule came out in July many around the Mavericks were excited about playing 5 of the first 6 at home.  But many failed to look at the end of the schedule where the team has had to play 10 of their last 15 on the road.  That schedule got even tougher when you factor in the three games prior to this stretch were also against playoff teams, making it 16 of the final 18 games of the season against teams .500 or better.  However the Mavericks fared well during that span going 12-6.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS - The Mavericks took care of business when it came to defeating teams under .500. The team finished 27-4 against such teams. Against teams that were .500 or better, Dallas was 25-25. Dallas finished the season with 28 wins by 10 or more points, that tied for third in the league behind San Antonio's 40 and Portland's 29. The Mavericks were tied with Sacramento.

CONSISTENT BASKETBALL - One thing that can be said of the Mavericks is they played consistent basketball all season long. The team's longest winning streak was a modest six games (five of which were at home) while the longest losing streak was just three games twice. Besides the season-high six-gamer, the Mavericks won four-in-a-row three times and three consecutive games six times.

TOP SCORING TRIOS - The Mavericks' trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Juwan Howard were the third-highest scoring trio in the NBA. Those three combined to average 61.1 points per game (Howard's average was his Dallas average). They trailed just the Lakers Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox trio of 68.7 ppg and Milwaukee's Ray Allen, Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson average of 62.2 points per game.

MAVS IRONMEN - It has been well-documented that Michael Finley is one of the most durable players in the league having finished the season playing in 461 consecutive games. But did you know that Howard Eisley has played in 443 consecutive games which is the third-longest streak in the NBA? Dirk Nowitzki has also played in every game the last two seasons and has missed just three games (all DNP-CD) in his three-year career (164 of 167).

- WINNING MONTHS NEVER GET OLD - The 7-3 April mark assured the Mavericks of a winning month in each month for the first time since 1987-88. Dallas was 10-4 in March which was the first winning March since the 1997-1998 team went 8-8 and was the ninth winning March in team history. The Mavericks had a winning February at 8-4. It was also the first time the team has had consecutive winning February's since they had four straight from 1987-90. This is the first time the team has accomplished this since 1987-1988. The Mavericks registered a winning December for the first time since 1989-1990 when they finished 9-6. The Mavericks were 10-5 and tied with the 1987-1988 team, who were 10-3, for the winningest December in franchise history. The Mavericks recorded a winning November at 9-6.

GREAT ALL-AROUND PLAY - The Mavericks finished the regular season as the only team in the league to finish in the top five in all of the following categories: points per game (100.5, 4th), field goal percentage (45.9%, 5th), free throw percentage (79.4%, 2nd) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.1%, fourth).

53 WINS - The Mavericks posted the third 50-win season in team history with 53 wins, that was the first 50-win season in 13 years. The 1986-1987 squad had the first and best season at 55-27, while the 1987-1988 team went 53-29. The 1986-1987 team won their 50th game after playing a total of 74 games, while the 1987-1988 team picked up their 50th after 75 total contests. The 2000-01 Mavericks grabbed their 50th after 79 games.

POPULAR BUNCH - The Dallas Mavericks posted 20 sellouts. That was the first time the team has recorded at least 20 sellouts since 1994-1995 when there was 27 and the ninth time in history Dallas had at least 20.

THE ROAD HAS BEEN KIND - The team recorded the most road victories in franchise history with 25 and posted the first-ever winning road record. The previous best road record was 20-21 set three times. Dallas also won a franchise-record seven straight road games, that broke the old record of five (set three times). The Mavericks won 25 road games which is more than seven other Maverick teams had in total wins.

DEFENSE SETTING RECORDS - Dallas finished tied for fourth in the league in scoring margin at +4.3 per game. While the team was fourth in the league in scoring at 100.5 points per game, the Mavericks allowed a franchise best 96.2 points a game. The Mavericks' opponents shot just 43.9% from the field which was the best in team history.

EASTERN EXCELLENCE - The Mavericks went a franchise-best 23-7 against the Eastern Conference. That mark replaced the previous best record of 18-8 set in 1989-1990. They also defeated each team in the Eastern Conference at least once this season, which was the first time in franchise history Dallas accomplished that.

COMEBACK KIDS - One thing that could be said about the Mavericks was that they never gave up. The team had seven come-from-behind wins.

ABOVE THE CENTURY MARK = WINS - When Dallas scored more than 100 points they were 35-11.

REUNION REWARDS - The Mavericks won 16 of their last 20 games at Reunion Arena. With 28 wins at home, Dallas compiled more home wins than 16 of the Mavericks 20 previous seasons. The 1987-1988 season had the best home record at 33-8. This would be the last season at Reunion Arena for the Dallas Mavericks, moving the next season to the American Airlines Center.

AN ALL-STAR BREAK RECORD - The Mavericks set a record for most wins at the All-Star Break with a 31-19 record. That replaces the old mark of 30-16 set back in 1986-87. That was just the 10th time in franchise history the team won 20 or more games at the All-Star break.

AFTER THE BREAK NOT BAD EITHER - Following this year's All-Star Break, the Mavericks were 22-10. That was the third best mark in franchise history behind 25-11 in 1986-1987 and 25-14 in 1987-1988.

WHICH WAS THE BETTER HALF? - The Mavericks posted the third best first-half record in franchise history at 25-16 but they were stronger in the second half of the season as they finished the last 41 games of the season with a 28-13 mark. That was the second best second-half record in team history behind a 29-12 finish by the 1986-87 team.

BIG WIN MAKES MAVERICKS LISTS - The Mavericks 37-point win over Vancouver on January 20 (120-87) was their largest of the season. It was also the sixth-largest victory in team history and the fourth-largest home win in franchise history.

EASY WINS BECOME MORE COMMON PLACE - The Mavericks won 12 games by 20 or more points. The record for 20+-point victories in a season was 16 set in 1986-1987. From 1991-1992 to 1998-1999 the Mavericks had just five 20+-point wins in those eight seasons. Since the beginning of 1999-2000 the team has posted 14.

STREAK STOPPERS - Over the last season-and-a-half, the Mavericks have been able to end some long losing streaks. In all, Dallas has stopped seven losing streaks of seven or more games. Dallas finally ended its drought in Portland on March 28. The Mavericks had not won in that city since April 15, 1995 (10 tries). This also includes two streak stoppers against the Heat. The Mavericks beat the Heat in Miami on March 7 for the first time in 11 tries. Dallas also broke a streak of 17 consecutive losses over the Heat on February 1, which was the longest losing streak of its kind in professional sports.

TRIPLE PLAY - All-Star Michael Finley recorded his first triple-double of the season (sixth career) at Golden State (12/2). He finished the game with 13 points, a season-high 13 rebounds and a season-high 10 assists in 44 minutes.

GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD - If the Mavericks have a lead at the end of a quarter, they are very successful. This season Dallas was 35-9 when leading at the start of the second quarter, 43-5 at the start of the third and a league-high 46-2 at the start of the fourth.

FROM THE FIELD - The Mavericks finished the season shooting 45.9%, which was good for fifth in the league. That was the highest mark in ten years since the team shot 47.1% in 1990-1991. The Mavericks were 22-4 when shooting 50% or better. When the Mavericks outshoot their opponents, they were 43-6.

LONG RANGER SHOOTERS - The Mavericks finished fourth in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 38.1%.  That was the second-highest in franchise history behind 1999-2000's 39.1% effort. When the Mavericks made more 3-pointers than their opponents they were 33-17.

CHARITY LINE CHATTER: - The Mavericks were once again one of the best in the NBA at shooting free throws. The team finished the regular season at 79.4% which was second in the league. Dallas' percentage was the second-highest in franchise history behind 1999-2000's 80.4% effort.

ON THE REBOUND - Rebounding was one of the sticking points for the Mavericks all season but they became better as the season went along. The team was outrebounded on the season by a 3.5 margin but in the last 24 games of the season they grabbed 40 or more rebounds 18 times. Dallas had the top rebounding performance in the league -- 69 vs. Orlando on January 18, which is the second highest total in Mavericks history. Dallas outrebounded 26 opponents and was 25-1 in those games.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES - The Mavericks recorded 83 double-doubles (66 point-rebound, 16 point-assist and one point-steal). Dirk Nowitzki led the team with 38 (all point-rebound), Juwan Howard (point-rebound) had 16 (7 with the Mavericks), Shawn Bradley (all point-rebound) had 13, Steve Nash has 12 (all point-assist), Michael Finley had eight (5 point-rebound, 2 point-assist and 1 point-steal), Christian Laettner had two (point-rebound) and Howard Eisley (point-assist) and Calvin Booth (point-rebound) each had one.

TURNOVER TALES - Dallas was one of the better teams in the league in taking care of the ball as they ranked sixth in the NBA this season with a 13.9 average. The Mavericks recorded single digit turnovers nine times and were 6-3 in those games. The Mavericks were 31-13 when recording less turnovers than their opponents.

STEAL SHEET - The Mavericks averaged 7.54 steals per game (19th in the league). The Mavericks reached double figures in steals 20 times and were 16-4 in those games.

ASSIST ANGLE - When Dallas had more assists than their opponent, they were 34-5.

>BLOCK PARTY - The Mavericks set a franchise record for blocks in a season this year with 492. As a team, Dallas averaged 6.00 per game, which ranked fifth in the league.

STARTING FIVES - Due to the new faces on the team the coaching staff used 20 different lineups. The top lineups were Finley and Nowitzki at forward with Nash and Eisley at guard and either Laettner or Bradley at center. Those two quintets were a combined 19-8. The late-season lineup of Juwan Howard and Dirk Nowitzki at forward, Shawn Bradley at center and Steve Nash and Michael Finley at guard were 10-5.

UNDER 80 EQUALS WINS - The San Antonio game on November 10 was just the second time in team history the Mavericks won while scoring less than 80 points. The other time was in 1991-1992 against Minnesota.

BACK-TO-BACKS - Dallas played a league-low 13 back-to-backs this season. The Mavs split five, won five and lost three. They were 9-4 in the first game and 7-6 in the second.

CLOSE CALLS - The margin of victory was six points or less 24 times and Dallas was 13-11 in those games.

BEST PRESEASON RECORD - The Mavericks posted the best preseason in team history at 6-2. That was just the fourth time in team history the Mavericks registered a winning preseason and the first time in 17 years (5-1 in 1981, 5-1 in 1982 and 3-2 in 1983).

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