The Big Three; A Force To Be Reckoned With
Won 57, lost 25 (second, Midwest)…Dallas made its second-straight postseason appearance, sweeping Minnesota 3-0 in the first round before falling to Sacramento 4-1 in the conference semifinals…Dirk Nowitzki was named to the All-NBA Second Team while Steve Nash was named an All-NBA Third Team selection…both players were also members of the Western Conference All-Star Team, coached by Don Nelson…on 12/29/01, Nelson became just the third coach in NBA history to record 1,000 career wins…the Mavericks had the best road record in the NBA, tallying a then franchise-high 27 road wins…Dallas led the league in scoring (105.2 ppg) while also committing an NBA record-low 12.1 turnovers per game…the Mavs had three players win the Western Conference Player of the Week award: Nash (12/10-12/16/01), Nowitzki (1/21-1/27/02) and Michael Finley (4/8-4/14/02)…Raef LaFrentz became the third player in league history to register 100 3-pointers and 100 blocks in the same season.
MAVERICKS MAKE SECOND CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF APPEARANCE: The Dallas Mavericks made their second consecutive trip to the NBA Playoffs. In 2001, the team broke an 11-year postseason drought by advancing to the playoffs. The Mavericks came into the playoffs as the fourth seed in the Western Conference after finishing the season 57-25. It was the eighth playoff appearance for Dallas in 22 seasons. Dallas defeated Minnesota 3-0 in the first round and then lost 4-1 to Sacramento in the Conference Semifinals.
MAVS SET FRANCHISE VICTORY MARK: The Mavericks set a franchise record with 57 wins. The following are the four best season records of all-time.
1. 2001-02 57-25
2. 1986-87 55-27
3. 2000-01 53-29
4. 1987-88 53-29
MAVERICKS SECURED WINNING SEASON EARLY: The Mavericks clinched a winning season on 3/5/02 against Phoenix after recording their 42nd win. This was the first time the franchise had registered consecutive winning seasons since the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons.
MAVERICKS FINISH 32 OVER .500: Dallas finished the regular season a franchise record 32 games over .500. Dallas went 30 games above .500 for the first time in franchise history by beating the L.A. Clippers (4/4/02). The best record prior to this was the 1986-87 team’s mark of 28 games above .500 set twice. They had a 54-26 record with two games left and finished the season at 55-27.
ROAD RECORD BEST IN THE LEAGUE: Dallas had the best road record in the NBA as they tallied a franchise-high 27 road wins. That was two more than the previous mark of 25 set in 2000-2001. The last two seasons are the only winning road records in franchise history. Over the past two seasons, the Mavericks are 52-30 (.642) on the road.
ROAD MARK ONE OF THE BEST IN RECENT YEARS IN THE NBA: Dating back to the 1997-98 season (not counting the shortened 1998-99 season) the Mavericks 27 road wins ties for the fourth-highest total during this span.
1. Lakers 31-10 1999-2000
2. Portland 29-12 1999-2000
3. Lakers 28-13 1997-1998
4. Philadelphia 27-14 2000-2001
5. Mavericks 27-14 2001-2002
AMONG THE LEAGUE’S BEST: The Mavericks are just one of four teams in the NBA to post consecutive 50-win seasons the last two years. The others are San Antonio, the Lakers and Sacramento.
MAVERICKS POST BEST SCORING MARK IN 5 YEARS: Dallas averaged a league best 105.2 points per game. That was the highest scoring average in the NBA since the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls averaged 105.5 a contest. Over the last week of the regular season, the Mavericks’ scoring average was over 105.6 a game. If they could have sustained that mark it would have been the highest in the NBA since 1994-95 when Orlando led the league at 110.9 points a game. Still, the 105.2 points per game was the highest scoring mark by a Maverick team since the 1987-88 team averaged 109.3 a game.
THE CENTURY MARK: There was perhaps no other team in the NBA that depended on scoring 100 or more points as much as the Mavericks did. Here is a look:
• The Mavericks were 47-10 when topping the century mark.
• Dating back to the end of February 2001, Dallas is an amazing 63-12 in the last 75 games in which it cracked the century mark.
• The Mavericks scored 100 or more points a league-leading 57 times.
• The team allowed 100 or more points 46 times and went 26-20 in those games. Dallas and Sacramento (17-16) were the only teams in the NBA to have a winning record in games in which they allowed 100 or more points.
• Dallas scored over 110 points 31 times and were 29-2 in those games.
WE WOULD HAVE A JOB AS A CLOSER IN BASEBALL: Dallas finished the season 36-5 when leading at the start of the second quarter, 41-6 when leading at halftime and league-best 49-2 when leading after three quarters. Dallas is 95-4 when leading at the start of the fourth quarter over the past two seasons.
WINNING MONTHS NEVER GET OLD: The Mavericks posted a winning record in each month of the season for the second consecutive year. Dallas has registered a winning record for 13 consecutive months (which dates back to April 2000). The longest winning stretch in franchise history is 14 months (November 1986-December 1988).
• The Mavericks were 6-3 in April, which marked their fourth consecutive winning April.
• The Mavericks went 11-5 in March to record their second straight season with a winning March, and the eighth over-all winning March in franchise history. This was pretty impressive as they played eight games against teams that made the playoffs. The 1986-87 team posted the best ever March with a 12-4 record.
• Dallas recorded its third straight winning February after going 7-4.
• Dallas finished 12-4 in January, which set a franchise record for the most wins ever in that month (previous record was 11). The 12 wins also tied the most wins in any month in history (also 12-4 set in March of 1987).
• The Mavericks registered their best December in team history with an 11-3 record. That marked a winning December for the second consecutive year and the sixth in team history.
• Dallas recorded a winning November for the second straight season and the eighth in team history at 9-6.
MAVERICKS WERE COMEBACK KIDS: Dallas’ high-octane offense meant the team was never out of a contest. Here is a look at the comebacks this season:
• The Mavericks tied their 17th biggest comeback at Milwaukee (3/26/02). After being down 17 points in the second, Dallas battled back to tie the game. The Mavericks won in overtime 112-106.
• Dallas was down 14 points late in the third quarter against Boston (2/21/02) and came up big in the fourth to win 98-92.
• At Phoenix on 2/17/02, the Mavericks were down 27-12 before going on a 21-0 run.
• On 1/21/02, the Mavericks came back from a 7-point deficit with 6:03 to play to register a victory over the Nets. The Mavericks went on a 17-1 run in the next 5:16 to put the game into the win column.
• The Mavericks erased a 15-point 3rd quarter deficit at Indiana (1/12/02).
• The Mavericks made the record books on 12/18/01 as they came back from a 22-point deficit in the third quarter (80-58) to defeat Minnesota (107-103) in Minneapolis. This tied the second largest comeback in team history.
• Dallas battled back from a 21-point deficit in the second quarter (44-23) to defeat Golden State by 10 points (116-106) on 11/27/01. This tied the fourth largest comeback in team history.
HOME RUN: The Mavericks closed out their home schedule by tying for the fourth best home record in franchise history at 30-11. This was the 11th time in 22 years the team posted a winning home record. After not accomplishing this in eight years, the franchise has posted a winning home record in each of the last three years. This is the first time this has happened in three consecutive years since 1988-90, when the team finished off a stretch of eight consecutive winning home seasons. The 1986-87 team recorded the best-ever home record of 35-6. The Mavericks won seven straight games (from 12/11/01-1/5/02), which tied for the ninth longest home winning streak. Here is a list of the top five home records:
1. 1986-87 35-6
2. 1987-88 33-8
3. 1983-84 31-10
4. 1989-90 30-11
5. 2001-02 30-11
SELLOUT CENTRAL: With 34 sellouts, Dallas posted the fourth most sellouts in franchise history. The best ever of 38 was recorded in 1986-87. In franchise history, only 10 teams have posted 20 or more sellouts. The Mavericks sold out the American Airlines Center the final 29 regular season games. The Mavericks recorded their largest crowd in team history against Washington (12/8/01) at 20,241. The second largest crowd was 20,181 vs. Sacramento (2/23/02). Here is the list of the most sellouts in a season:
1. 1986-87 38
2. 1987-88 37
3. 1988-89 35
4. 2001-02 34
REACHING MILESTONES QUICKLY: The Mavericks became the fastest team in franchise history to post 50 wins, recording their 50th at Boston (3/29/02). The 50th win in 72 games beats the 1986-87 team who took 74 games to record 50 wins. The Mavericks tied a franchise record by reaching 40 wins in just 57 games (set previously in 1987-88). The 1986-87 team recorded 40 wins after 62 games. Earlier in the season, the Mavericks set a franchise record for the fewest games to reach 30 wins, as they accomplished that feat in 42 games. The previous mark was 47 set in 1987-88.
CONFERENCE/DIVISION WATCH: Dallas had one of its best campaigns against each conference and the Midwest Division.
• Dallas posted its best Western Conference record in 14 years as it went 35-17. That was the best mark since 1987-88 when the team went 41-19. Last season, the Mavericks had a 30-22 record against the West.
• Dallas finished the year 16-8 against Midwest Division opponents which was the best since 1989-90 when they went 17-11.
• Dallas tied its best ever Eastern Conference record, set last season at 23-7.
NELLIE SOARS PAST .500 AND HAS A "GRAND" YEAR: Here is a look at some of this season’s highlights for Mavericks head coach Don Nelson:
• He coached his second All-Star team to victory in Philadelphia after the West won 135-120.
• Nellie has a winning record with all four NBA teams he has coached.
• Nellie hit the .500 mark with the Mavericks after the team defeated Phoenix on 3/5/02. He now has a 185-177 record with Dallas.
• Assuming the head coaching duties during the 1997-98 season, Nellie’s record fell as low as 44-104 (29.7%) on 1/6/00. Since that date, Nellie has led the Mavericks to a 141-73 record (65.8%).
• Nelson became just the third coach in NBA history to record his 1,000th win as the Mavericks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 113-97 on Saturday, December 29, 2001. Only Toronto’s Lenny Wilkens and Miami’s Pat Riley have won more games as a head coach.
RECORD SETTING FIRST HALF: Dallas set a franchise record for the most wins in the first 41 games after defeating New Jersey on 1/21. The Mavericks were 29-12 after 41 games, which broke the previous best first half of 28-13 set in 1987-88. The 29-12 record tied for the best half of a season in franchise history as well. The 1986-87 team was also 29-12 but in the second half of the year.
MAVERICKS RECORD BEST EVER ALL-STAR MARK: Dallas’ 35 wins was a franchise record for victories before the All-Star break. The only other season in which the team had at least 30 wins at the break was in 1986-87 when they had 30.
SHOOTING LIGHTS OUT: Dallas could be considered the best all-around shooting team in the league. The Mavericks ranked fourth in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage and first in free throw percentage. No other team can say that. Only the Minnesota Timberwolves were close as they rank in the top five in the categories.
NOT SO CLOSE: The Mavericks usually won their games handily. Dallas had 31 wins by 10 or more points and 42 by 7 or more. Only 16 times was a game decided by five points or less. Dallas averaged 109.3 points in wins while holding their opponents to 98.1 points. There were only 12 games decided by 3 points or less.
OUTSTANDING IN OT: Dallas played seven overtime games and went 5-2. The most overtime games in a season was eight (they went 4-4) in 1995-96 and in 1997-98. Only those two seasons in history have more than this season’s seven.
INJURY PLAGUED: The Mavericks players missed a combined 282 games to illness or injury. Shawn Bradley had not missed a game in two seasons, Dirk Nowitzki had never missed a game in his career due to an injury and Michael Finley had the longest active streak of consecutive games played until he missed a game. Steve Nash was the only player to appear in all 82 games this season.
THE STARTING FIVE: Don Nelson used 29 different lineups. The most successful one (5-0) was Eduardo Najera and Dirk Nowitzki at forward, Raef LaFrentz at center and Steve Nash and Michael Finley as the guards. The most popular lineup of forwards Adrian Griffin and Juwan Howard, center Dirk Nowitzki and guards Steve Nash and Michael Finley went 4-4.
• The longest winning streak of the season ended at 10 games at New York on 1/3/02. The 10 straight were the second longest in team history and trailed only the franchise record of 11 set in 1987-88.
• They won a franchise-record eight straight road games from 1/15-2/12/02, beating the old mark of seven set in 2000-01 (12/15/00-1/10/01).
• This season the Mavericks were 28-13 against teams with a record of .500 or better. Meanwhile they played well against teams below the .500 mark, as they were 28-12. The Mavericks were 27-16 against the other 15 teams in the playoffs.
• The Mavericks lost 10 games this season by 10 or more points. In the game following these double-digit losses the team was 7-3.
• Dallas’ 21-0 run at Phoenix (2/17/02) was the largest run in franchise history by one point. In the 133-112 victory at the Clippers on 1/26, the team reeled-off a 20-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to take command of that game.
• The Mavericks won six back-to-backs and split 13. They were 13-6 in the first and second games.
• Avery Johnson became the fifth NBA player to play for all three Texas teams. The other four are Mark Bryant, Vernon Maxwell, David Wood and Chucky Brown.
• In 12 games when at least three players scored 20 or more points, Dallas was 9-3.
MORE HONORS: Steve Nash was named Western Conference Player of the Week from 12/10-12/16/01, Dirk Nowitzki was named Western Conference Player of the Week from 1/21-1/27/02 and Michael Finley was named Western Conference Player of the Week from 4/8-4/14/02.
DYNAMITE DIRK: Dirk Nowitzki was simply one of the best players in the NBA. The big German led the team in scoring at 23.4 points a game and led the team in rebounds with 9.9, both of which ranked among the league’s top 10. He ranked third in the NBA behind Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal in 30-point/10-rebound games with 13. He posted 38 double-doubles, scored 30 points or more 21 times, and has led the team in scoring 40 times and in rebounding 44 times. He recorded a season-high 40 points at Atlanta on 1/15/02 and a career-high total in rebounds with 23 vs. Boston (2/21/02).
NOWITZKI’S REBOUNDS SET MARK: When Dirk Nowitzki grabbed all 21 of his rebounds on the defensive end vs. Sacramento on 2/23/02 he set a league record for most without an offensive rebound. The league did not start differentiating between offensive and defensive rebounds until the 1973-74 season but here are the top efforts since then.
21 Dirk Nowitzki Dallas 2002
19 Patrick Ewing New York 1996
19 David Robinson San Antonio 1994
19 Bob Lanier Detroit 1977
THE IRON MAN: The Mavericks Iron Man Michael Finley did not play for the first time as a Maverick and first time in six seasons against Atlanta (12/29/01). That ended the then-longest active streak in the NBA at 490 consecutive games played. Finley played his career-low in minutes vs. Chicago on 12/27/01 after suffering a strained left hamstring. He missed 13 games with that injury.
LET’S GET NASH-TY: Steve Nash made his first All-Star appearance due to his career season. He finished third on the team in scoring with a career-high average of 17.9 points per game and leads the team in assists at a career-high 7.7 per contest. He posted 20 double-doubles. He was the only player to appear in all 82 games for Dallas after never playing in more than 70 games in a season during his career.
THE BIG THREE: Michael Finley, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki combined to average 61.9 points a game, which is 58.8% of the total points. In Dallas’ games this season, only four other players led the team in scoring (Juwan Howard, Eduardo Najera, Tim Hardaway and Nick Van Exel). These three also combined for 57.9% of the assists and 39.2% of the rebounds.
LaFRENTZ JOINS ELITE FEW: Mavericks center Raef LaFrentz became just the third player in league history to register 100 3’s and 100 blocks in the same season. Dirk Nowitzki accomplished the feat in 2000-01 and the Lakers’ Robert Horry did so with Houston in 1995-96.
FROM THE FIELD: The Mavericks finished the season shooting 46.2%, which was fourth in the league. That was also the highest percentage by a Dallas team since the 1990-91 team shot 47.1%. Dallas shot better than 50% 22 times and was 20-2 in those games.
LONG RANGERS: The Dallas Mavericks finished the season with the second longest streak of games with at least one 3-pointer. The Toronto Raptors are first with 284 followed by Dallas with 283. Miami was the leader with an NBA record of 594 straight games, but that ended on 11/10/01.
FROM THE STRIPE: The Mavericks led the league with a franchise record percentage of 80.6% from the foul line. The Mavericks shot above 80% 48 times and were 31-17 in those games. Dallas set a franchise record for free throw percentage at New Jersey (2/6/02) going 27-27 from the line.
ASSIST ANGLE: The Mavericks averaged 22.1 assists a game. When they had more assists than their opponents, the Mavericks were 19-5.
HOLDING ON: Dallas was best in the league at holding on to the basketball, committing an all-time NBA low 12.1 turnovers per game.
Mavs MANIAACs debut on court: Late in the fun-filled atmosphere of April 21, 2002, the original 13 Mavs ManiAACs debuted to cheers, chuckles and a few puzzled looks. What was an invitation from Mark Cuban for big, beefy Mavs fans who can dance and entertain has since become an NBA phenomenon. Countless NBA teams have since replicated the magic formula with all-male dance teams.
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