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Mavs Win The West; Two Wins Shy Of Championship

This year the Mavs finished the regular season with a 60-22 record, earning the number four seed in the West behind the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

In the first round series the Mavericks swept the fifth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in four games.

In the second round the Mavericks faced the first-seeded Spurs. The first game was a 95 - 92 loss in San Antonio. The next game was a lopsided Dallas victory, evening the series going back to Dallas. Then the Mavericks won two close decisions at home to take a commanding 3 games to 1 lead into game five in San Antonio. Dallas played a great game and nearly won, but the San Antonio Spurs showed why they were the defending champs by sneaking away with a one point decision. At the end of the game Jason Terry was given a suspension for punching Michael Finley around the area of his waist. This would prove vital since the Mavericks would have to head back into Dallas without their starting point guard. As it was, the San Antonio Spurs came out on top with a five point victory, forcing a game seven back in San Antonio. Finally in game seven through a clutch layup by Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks were able to force overtime and eventually win the deciding contest, leading them back into the conference finals for the first time since 2003.

In the conference finals vs Phoenix, the Mavs prevailed in six games, attaining the Finals for the first time.

The Finals began with two victories at home against the Miami Heat, taking a 2-0 series lead to Miami. In Game three, the Mavs led by 13 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but Miami SG Dwyane Wade turned the tide and the Mavs fell by two points, 98-96. This heartbreaking loss swung the series momentum to Miami and the Heat went on to take the series, 4 games to 2.

In the NBA draft, the Mavs selected G Maurice Ager of Michigan State. During the summer, the Mavs made two trades with the Pacers. In the first trade, the Mavs acquired Austin Croshere for swingman Marquis Daniels. In early July, the Mavs traded veteran PG Darrell Armstrong and youngsters Rawle Marshall and Josh Powell to the Pacers for PG Anthony Johnson. PG Jose Barea and PF Pops Mensah-Bonsu were signed as free agents by the Mavs following training camp.

Season Notebook

  • FINALSY!: It took 26 seasons and a decade full of hardships in the '90s, but Dallas finally made its first NBA Finals. The Mavericks made their sixth straight playoff appearance and their 12th overall. Dallas was the fourth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.

  • WE FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON: The law of averages caught up to Dallas in the Finals. The Mavericks were the 10th team to win the first two games of the Finals at home since the NBA adopted the 2-3-2 format. The previous nine teams won the title. Dallas also became just the third team in Finals history to drop the series after leading 2-0.

  • WE CAN LIVE WITH 60: Dallas went 60-22 in 2005-2006, tying for the best record in franchise history (the other time was 2002-2003)

  • JUST THE TWO OF US: The Mavericks and the Spurs are the only two teams to have won 50+ games in each of their past 6 seasons. On March 14 vs. Cleveland, Dallas secured its eight 50-win season in team history. In the decade of the '90s, the Mavericks LOST 50+ games in seven of 10 seasons.

  • MAYBE HE'S BORN WITH IT: In just his first full season as a head coach, Avery Johnson helped guide the Mavericks to their first NBA Finals. On April 25, Johnson was named 2005-2006 Coach of the Year.

  • HASSELHOFF WOULD BE PROUD: On May 17, Dirk Nowitzki was named to the All-NBA First Team for the second straight season. He Joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Shaquille O'Neal as the only players to have made an All-NBA team in each of the past six seasons. Nowitzki finished third in voting for the MVP.

  • FEELING RIGHT AT HOME: Dallas went 34-7 at home this season after going 29-12 in 2004-2005. The Mavericks won 27 of their final 31 home games, including 16 straight from 1/3 through 3/3, which is the longest streak in team history. Head Coach Avery Johnson owns a career coaching mark of 42-7 at home.

  • 20,000 MANIAACS: Dallas had a crowd of 20,000+ for 29 of its 41 home games last season. The Mavericks have sold out 194 consecutive home games (157-37 record). Dallas has sold out an additional 35 playoff and eight preseason games during that same stretch. Since moving into American Airlines Center (2001-2002 season), the Mavericks have posted a home mark of 163-42 (.795).

  • KINGS OF THE ROAD: In 2005-2006, Dallas went 25-15 on the road, which is the fourth best road mark in team history. The Mavericks won six straight on the road from January 18-February 1, which tied for the fourth longest road winning streak in franchise history.

  • THE NATURAL: Head Coach Avery Johnson won 66 of his first 82 games, which was four more wins than the previous best start by a first-time coach in league history. Johnson was also the fastest coach to reach 50 career wins. He was named the Western Conference Coach of the Month for January, marking the third time in his first full four months coaching that he recieved the award. Johnson was named Western Conference Coach of the Month in April and again in November, becoming the first coach in the history of the NBA to win Coach of the Month honors in his first two full months on the job.

  • 10!: Prior to finishing 9-8 in March, Dallas had won 10 or more games in seven straight months, the longest streak in team history. To put things into perspective, in the entire decade of the '90s, the Mavericks had one month (March 1995) in which they won 10 or more games while having 27 months with 10 or more losses. Dallas won 10 games in February, tying the team record for the most wins in that month. The Mavericks also set franchise win records in January (13) and December (12).

  • STAR TREK: It was a Maverick themed All-Star weekend in Houston. On February 17, Del Harris coached Devin Harris and the rest of the Sophomores to a win in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. Devin Harris finished with six points, seven assists, three rebounds and three steals. On February 18, Dirk Nowitzki beat Jason Terry and four other contestants in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. In the main event on February 19, the Western Conference, coached by Avery Johnson and the rest of the Mavericks staff, was narrowly defeated 122-120 in the 55th All-Star game. Nowitzki, making a team record fifth appearance in the midseason classic, had 10 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.

  • IN GOOD HANDS: Dallas was the only team whose top three scorers (Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and Josh Howard) all averaged fewer than 2.0 turnovers per game. Of the league's top 15 scorers, Nowitzki was the only player to average fewer than 2.0 tpg. The Mavericks were also one of just two teams (Boston) whose top three scorers all shot 47% from the floor.

  • HOLGER'S HERO: Dirk Nowitzki's mentor, Holger Geschwinder, had to be proud to see his star pupil follow up an All-NBA First Team performance in 2004-2005 with another great season. Nowitzki averaged a career-high 26.6 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds. He scored 30+ points 26 times in 2005-2006 and the Mavericks were 21-5 in those games but Dallas was 6-6 when he failed to score at least 20. Nowitzki also had 35 double-doubleslast season. He ranked seventh in the NBA in scoring, tied for 15th in rebounding, tied for 38th in field goal percentage (48.0%), fourth in free throw percentage (90.1%), 20th in 3-point percentage (40.6%), 31st in blocks (1.02 bpg) and 25th in minutes (38.1 mpg). Nowitzki recorded career-high percentages from the floor, 3-point range, and from the line.

  • THANKS MILWAUKEE!: On March 5 vs. Phoenix, Dirk Nowitzki surpassed Derek Harper as the Mavericks third leading scorer in franchise history. Nowitzki also topped the 2,000 point plateau last season, tying Mark Aguirre's team record for the most 2,000 point seasons (3). On December 9, Nowitzki became the franchise leader in rebounding. He also made a franchise record 60 consecutive free throws in late December and early January. On March 23 vs. Golden State, he scored 51 points, the most ever by a Maverick in a non-overtime game.

  • UNLEASED: Head Coach Avery Johnson asked Jason Terry to get back to his scoring roots in 2005-2006. Terry scored 20+ points 30 times and averaged 17.1 points per game. Despite the added workload on offense, Terry still shot 47.0% from the floor. He shot a career-best 50.1% in 2004-05 after not shooting above 43.6% entering that season.

  • THE RAINMAKER: Last season, seattle native Jason Terry ranked 10th in 3-pointers made and 18th in 3-point shooting percentage (41.1%). His 171 3FGM was the second most by a Maverick in a single season. Terry also set a franchise record by mkaing a 3-pointer in 47 consecutive games from December 10- March 28. Since the srart of the 2002-2001 season, only three players have made more three-pointers than Terry (Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic and Antoine Walker).

  • J-WHO? J-HO!: Josh Howard scored 20 points 19 times last season (Mavs 19-0 mark) and had 12 double-doubles (Mavs 12-0). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, from the start of the 1986-1987 season the most wins a team had without a loss when a player scored 20+ points for them was 12. For the season, Howard averaged 15.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.15 steals in 32.3 mpg.

  • WHEN J-HO WAS A NO-GO: Dallas went 16-7 in games Josh Howard missed. When Howard set out, opponents shot 40.4% (132-327) from 3-point range, compared to 34.3% (272-793) when he played.

  • JER-RY! JER-RY!: Santa visited the Mavericks a night early, as on December 23 at Seattle, Jerry Stackhouse made his season debut after missing the first 26 games with a sore right knee. In the 55 games Stackhouse played, Dallas was 41-14. With Stackhouse, Dallas averaged 97.2 ppg to 91.9 for its opponents. During the Mavericks undefeated five-game road trip (January 18-January 26), Stackhouse outscored ALL opposing bench players 95-87. For the season, Stackhouse averaged 13.0 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 27.7 minutes per game.

  • DIGGING DAMP: Erick Dampier ranked tied for third in the NBA in offensive rebounding (3.3 orpg), tied for 21st in overall rebounding (7.8 rpg) and 27th in blocks (1.29 bpg). He also ranked third in the NBA in rebounds per 48 minutes played (16.0). Dampier had seven double-doubles this season (Mavs 7-0). Dallas was 10-1 when he scored 10+ points and 21-5 when he grabbed 10+boards. Dampier was also the only Maverick to appear in al 82 games.

  • QUESTION MARQ: After an injury ridden sophomore season prompted questions whether the flurry he ended his rookie campaign with was a fluke, Marquis Daniels was back to turning heads. Last season, Daniels appeared in 62 games with 29 starts and averaged 10.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.08 steals in 28.5 minutes per game. He shot 48.0% from the floor after shooting 43.7% in 2004-2005.

  • GOO GOO OVER GANA: Entering the 2005-2006 season, Gana dropped his baby fat and finally displayed some of the potential which persuaded Cleveland to take the high schooler with the eighth overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft. In 2005-2006, Diop avergaed 2.3 points (48.7% FGs), 4.6 rebounds and a team-high 1.8 blocks in 18.7 minutes per game (4.64 blocks per 48 minutes played). He blocked 3+ shots 24 times this season, including four or more 11 times. Diop ranked 14th in the NBA in blocks per game and fourth in blocks per 48 minutes played.

  • UTILIZING THE DH: Second-year guard Devin Harris had more points (20) in the fourth quarter against the Spurs on November 5 than he had in any game in 2004-2005 and he finished with 22 points on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting from the floor (tying the franchise high for FGM without a miss). Harris averaged 9.9 points, 3.2 assists, 2.2 rebounds and .95 steals in 22.8 minutes per game this season. He attempted just 21 3-pointers to 236 free throws this season after attempting 131 3-pointers to 103 free throws in 2004-2005.

  • THE KIDS CALL HIM KVH: The injury bug bit Keith Van Horn again, as he missed a total of 27 games, including the final nine with a broken right hand. In 2005-2006, he averaged 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds on 20.6 minutes per game. He was also third on the team with 50 3-pointers made and shot 83.2% from the line. Van Horn hit a career-high tying 5 3-pointers vs. New Jersey on 1/14, all of which came in the second quarter.

  • YO! ADRIAN!: With the announcement that there will be a Rocky VI, it's only fitting that another Adrian make a return as well. On November 28, Dallas signed six-year veteran Adrian Griffin, who was two seasons removed from having helped the Mavericks advance to the 2003 Western Conference Finals. Last season, Griffin appeared in 52 games with 45 starts and averaged 4.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists in 23.9 minutes per game. He had 51 steals to 39 turnovers on the season.

  • AGE AIN'T NOTHING BUT A NUMBER: It's tough to tell by his energy level, but Darrell Armstrong was the fourth oldest player (37) on an NBA roster to start the 2005-2006 season. Only Dikembe Mutombo, Clifford Robinson and Ervin Johnson are older. Armstrong averaged 2.1 points, 1.4 assists, and 1.3 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game but still led the team in floor burns. Armstrong is a career 88.0% shooter from the foul line and ranks 12th of all time.

  • PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF: For Josh Powell, third time was a charm in his attempt to stick on an NBA roster. He appeared in 37 games with two starts for the Mavericks and averaged 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per game.

  • CONGO'S #1 DJ: DJ Mbenga appeared in 43 games in 2005-2006, averaging 1.7 points (53.3% FGs) and 1.3 rebounds in just 5.5 minutes per game. Of all the players in the NBA, Mbenga was second in the league in blocks per 48 minutes played (5.00).

  • RAWLE CAN BALL: Undrafted rookie Rawle Marshall played sparingly the first two months of the season before being assigned to the Fort Worth Flyers on the NBA D-League. In 21 games for the Flyers, Marshall averaged 17.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.38 steals and 1.05 blocks in 30.2 minutes per game. Marshall appeared in 23 games for the Mavericks, averaging 3.1 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.5 minutes per game.

  • FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: Pavel Podkolzin (7'5) was the second-tallest player in the NBA , trailing only Houston's Yao Ming (7-6). Podkolzin missed the first 59 games of the season with a stress fracture before he was assigned to the Fort Worth Flyers of the NBA D-League. In 11 games for the Flyers, he averaged 6.6 points (50.9% FGs) and 5.8 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game. Podkolzin saw action in the final game of the season for Dallas and posted career-highs of 3 points, 7 rebounds and a block in 18 minutes of play.

  • APPEASING AVERY: The Mavericks gave up only 100+ points 22 times this season (7-15 mark). Dallas also held a franchise-high 13 consecutive opponents below 100 points from January 14-Fbruary 9. Dallas was 32-2 when holding their opponent below 90 points this season and 17-0 when the opposition shot below 40.0% from the floor. Dallas allowed a franchise opponent low 93.1 points per game on 44.3% shooting this season and ranked 7th in points allowed and 10th in opponent's field goal percentage.
  • CAN A LEOPARD CHANGE ITS SPOTS?: From 1990-2000 through 2004-2005, the Mavericks finished no worse than fourth in the NBA in scoring while finishing tops in the league three times. In 2005-06, Dallas ranked ninth in the league in scoring with 99.1 pph and topped 100 points 45 times (35-9 mark) while scoring below 90 13 times (7-6 mark).

  • WHEN HALF IS ENOUGH: On January 11, Dallas lost at New York despite shooting 52.9% from the floor. That ended a 63-game winning streak the Mavericks had when shooting 50.0% or better from the floor. Since the start of the 2001-2002 season, Dallas is 225-16 (.934) when shooting the same or better percentage that its opponent and 62-107 (.367) when shooting a lower percentage. This season, Dallas shot 46.2% from the floor and ranked seventh in the NBA.

  • NOT FREE SHOOTING THE THREE: Head Coach Avery Johnson asked his players to be more selective in regards to shooting from downtown and they complied. Dallas averaged just 13.6 3-point attempts per game, down from 15.5 in 2004-05. Dallas shot 37.4& from downtown this season and ranked ninth in the NBA. The Mavericks were 32-3 when shooting 40.0% or better from 3-point range this season. Dallas has also made at least one 3-pointer in 610 consecutive regular season games.

  • THREE-D: After leading the league in defending the 3-pointer in 2004-2005, Dallas continued to make its opponent struggle to get points from behind-the-arc last season. The opposition averaged just 4.9 3FGM per game on 36.1% shooting, and Dallas was 14-13 when its opponent shot 40.0% or better from downtown. The Mavericks ranked 19th in the NBA in opponents 3-point percentage this season.

  • A THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE: From the start of the 1999-2000 season through 2004-2005, Dallas shot a combined 80.2% from the line. Last season, the Mavericks were a little up and down in regards to success at the foul line but did close out the season shooting well (82.7% the final 18 games). For the season, the Mavericks shot 78.3% and ranked sixth in free throw percentage. Dallas was 31-10 when shooting 80.0% or better from the line this season.

  • GET IN LINE: Dallas did a good job getting to the line in 2005-06. The Mavericks averaged 28.3 free throw attempts per game this season. Dallas attempted 30+ free throws 36 times last season (26-10 mark) and attempted 40+ seven times. The Mavericks were 25-4 in games in which it made more free throws than their opponents attempted an 7-10 in game in which their opponent made more free throws than Dallas attempted.

  • TURNOVER AND OVER AGAIN: In 2005-06, Dallas averaged 13.6 turnovers per game and committed more turnovers than assists in 16 games (10-6 mark). The Mavericks ranked fifth in turnovers per game after finishing fourth in 2004-2005. Dallas committed a season-low 6 turnovers in Atlanta on March 25 and was 12-3 when having 10 or fewer turnovers this season.

  • DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Last season, the Mavericks averaged a franchise low 18.0 apg and ranked 29th in the NBA. In the final game of the season, Dallas recorded a franchise-low tying six assists. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, the Mavericks are 201-222 (.901) when recording more or the same number of assists as their opponent and 86-101 (.460) when recording fewer assists. The Mavericks tallied 25+ five times this season (4-1 mark) after going 18-0 when doing so in 2004-2005. Dallas made its opponents work harder for its buckets. In 2004-2005, Maverick opponents averaged 20.9 assists per game, last season they averaged 17.5.

  • CUBAN'S KLEPTOS: In 2004-2005, the Mavericks ranked fourth in the NBA with 8.63 steals per game which was the highest Dallas ever ranked in that category in franchise history. Last season, Dallas ranked 13th in the league with 7.23 steals per game and 20th in turnovers forced (14.0 tpg). The Mavericks recorded 10+ steals 12 times this season (8-4 mark) Dallas was 19-3 when its opponent had more turnovers than assists this season.

  • (RE)BOUND FOR GLORY: Rebounding continued to be a key to success for the Mavericks. Dallas averaged 42.2 rebounds compared to 38.3 for its opponents. The Mavericks were 43-10 when outrebounding their opponent and 17-12 when having as many or fewer boards. Dallas outrebounded its opponent by double-digits 23 times (20-3 mark) after going 11-0 when doing so in 2004-2005. The Mavericks ranked sixth in rebounding and second in opponents rebounding.

  • FEELING REJECTED: Dallas was fourth in the NBA in blocks per game (5.95). That tied the highest the Mavericks ever ranked in that category (fourth in 1998-1999). Dallas blocked 10+ shots seven times this season (6-1 mark). DeSagana Diop (1.8 bpg), Erick Dampier (1.29 bpg) and Dirk Nowitzki (1.02 bpg)all averaged at least one block per game. The last time the Mavericks had three players average over a block per game was 2002-2003 (Nowitzki, Raef LaFrentz and Shawn Bradley).

  • PENCIL IT IN:The Mavericks were 50-4 when leading at the start of the fourth quarter (lost at Utah on November 2, vs. the Lakers on December 12, vs. Golden State on December 30 and vs. Phoenix on March 5). Since the start of the 2000-2001 season, Dallas was 49-5 in games in which it leads by 10 or more points and also never trailed in seven games.

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