Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We're Gonna Go Streaking!

We won last night. If we win tonight, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before. –Lou Brown, Fictional Manager of the Cleveland Indians

When I was 10, my bedtime was 9 o’clock, which sucked because I couldn’t stay up to watch Mavs games, so I would fall asleep listening to Wally Lynn call games. Unfortunately, the Mavs were so bad that the games became just a formality, as there wasn’t all that much to get excited about. However, there was a game where the game captivated me because the Mavs were about to knock off the Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Pat Riley, and the Miami Heat in Miami. And as he does best, Jim Cleamons led the team straight into the ground, and they subsequently blew a fourth quarter lead. But there was still one last hope, the Mavs had the final possession. I’ll never forget Wally’s call.

“Mashburn is wide open from the corner. FOR THE WIN!”

(Clank)

(Crowd goes wild)

“Hearbreak Hotel.”

I say it after every Mavs’ loss. No matter how close the game was, I will look at the score and Heartbreak Hotel comes to mind every time.

So you can imagine how much it sucks for the Mavs to lose for me. I am forced to think of three crappy things: The Elvis Presley song, the aptly titled movie about Elvis (starring the guy who plays Jack Parkman in Major League II as Elvis), and the 1995-1996 Dallas Mavericks lead by Jim Cleamons and called by Wally Lynn.

Streaks are what make sports fun to diehard fans. Winning streaks are fun when they go on, but they suck once broken. Losing streaks are terrible for their duration, but once they’re over, you look back at them with a smile. Proof? How about the first 17 games of this season?

The year started with a 4 game losing streak. Losing two games to division rivals, one by 6 the other by 31. Throw in a pathetic showing in LA and a loss to Don Nelson of all people, and the Mavs are looking at pretty dismal year. Once the Phoenix game happened, though, we forgot all about those first four games. In fact, as a Mavs fan, I was happy that the losing streak occurred because it fueled their fire and got them over their post-Finals hangover. Yeah, they were humbled in the Finals, but 0-4 told them that 2006-2007 is a new year, and they better learn to play together.

And for the past 12 games, life has been great. No Hearbreak Hotel. As a fan, you have to get excited when no one can beat your team for 12 games. I’m not going to lie, I walked with a spring in my step when I thought about the Mavs winning 12 in a row.

And then last night, it all came crashing down. Though inevitable, one of the hardest losses to take is the one that ends a winning streak. Winning streaks bring so much promise, and then reality kicks in. Texas-OSU II anyone? The winning streak seems meaningless now that it’s over, but that’s what I’m here for. Here’s why 12 games is significant.

There are four teams this year that can win the NBA title: San Antonio, Phoenix, Miami (they are the defending champs), and Dallas. In the streak:

  • The Mavs beat the Spurs and Suns on the road
  • Took care of three other division wins
  • Pancaked three Eastern Conference teams
  • Won two other road games
  • Swept their only 4 in 5 (four games in five nights)

I didn’t even mention the smackdowns put on Sacramento (on national television) and Toronto.

People can scoff at the streak and say it was mostly against inferior opponents, but I have a question for you Mav haters. Who isn’t an inferior opponent? When it’s all said and done, this streak is going to look pretty damn impressive because Phoenix, San Antonio, Washington, Chicago, and possibly New Orleans will all be playoff teams. That’s five of the twelve right there. So 7 of the twelve weren’t top caliber, but streaks are predicated on beating up on bad teams and getting a head of steam to take down big dogs, which is exactly what happened when the Mavs went into San Antonio and grinded out a win.

I was going to do an analogy of winning streaks to relationships, but after I wrote it, I looked like a bleeding heart, which, if you know anything about my weekend, is certainly not the case. So then I was going to turn that analogy around to winning is like hooking up, but again, I would appear desperate, which, if you know anything about my weekend, you could argue that case but would eventually lose.

Anyway, I will be watching tonight’s game on YES network at Buffalo Wild Wings (35 cent wings!), hopefully with my favorite waitress, Amy. If the Mavs win tonight, I will finally get the courage to make a deal of this. If not, I’ll stew every Tuesday until the Mavs win while I’m there.

1 comment:

A.J. said...

Liar...you didn't listen to Mavs games when you were 10. Liar, I says! You probably stayed up past your bedtime to watch the Pacers.