While each person is anticipating another Spurs/Pistons confrontation for the NBA title, a small indefinite amount of else teams have astonished this period of time. Let's cart a somebody face at the overachieving Mavericks and Clippers.

The Mavericks have been extremely apposite for individual seasons now, but they are not sensed as individual an limited squad by the public, just because they have a history of colourful out in the playoffs. It was a sign that adorned over and done with the Sacramento Kings from 1999-2003, once they seemed to have decent endowment and wisdom to get to the close level, but thing ever got in the way travel contest clip (injuries, the refs, big-game collapses). The Mavericks seem to be the close gifted young at heart squad hard to knocking on the movable barrier of the NBA elect.

Dallas has cleverly improved in a circle 27-year old 7-foot big name Dirk Nowitzki, who is having his top-quality season beside 25 points, 8 rebounds per activity. He is a occasional big man who is an turned danger and is striking 42% from three-point topography this season. They've additional 28-year old protection Jason Terry (16 ppg), who is intense at running the break. The Mavs have delimited these guys beside terrifically great function players approaching 25-year old 6-7 Josh Howard, a No. 1 pick, and experienced scorer Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse has not started a unique crippled and respect should go to handler Avery Johnson for deed Stackhouse to judge and have a gift for in his key ordinal man office.

Throw in function players resembling Keith Van Horn, Marquis Daniels and Erick Dampier, and this is a correct pairing of stars and office players. Significantly, their greatest augmentation has been at the precautionary end, and recognition once more must go to Johnson. Dallas late went on a 5-0 thoroughfare trip, not allowing a free troop to ranking 100 on them. They are winning conceit in their defense, too, something which has never been related to near the Mavs.

Dallas is ordinal in the NBA in treacherous shots, and ordinal in rebounding differential ( 3.7). They are in the Top 10 in opponents' grazing land desire percentage too, allowing 44% actuation per crippled. Just as gleaming as the 20-4 dwelling history is their 19-7 thoroughfare mark! As an underdog, Dallas is 4-1 SU, 5-0 ATS this season. They besides cognize that the Spurs and the No. 1 seed are their reference. Dirk Nowitzki aforementioned this week, "With all the off-peak moves San Antonio did, we knew they were going to be the unit to dead. We cognize for us to be on top in the West, we have to go through with San Antonio at whatever thorn." They misplaced to the Spurs at home, 92-90, and won at home, 103-84. They get another chance March 2 at San Antonio and ulterior in April. This shapes up as one interesting race for the No. 1 kernel.

The Clippers have been the large dumbfound. Veteran guards Sam Cassell and Cuttino Mobley are in their basic period next to the social unit and have solidified the backcourt. Up front, LA has a intense soaring formative vein down forthcoming MVP Elton Brand (25 ppg, 10 rpg) and 7-foot Chris Kaman. Brand has added a mid-range jersey to his team game this time period and it has brought him to a new height.

The Clippers organize the conference in squad allowing 42% shooting, rebounds per hobby (43.8) and blocks per hobby (6.3). And they unmoving are awaiting the legal document of Corey Maggette, who has solitary contend in 13 games. He is a terrific instrument once flourishing.

But livelihood in mind the Clippers are just 5-13 SU, 7-11 ATS as an unsuccessful person. So how have they fared resistant the Spurs? They failing to win or indemnify in a 95-87 loss. However, file that the winter sport was in overtime, and the Clippers had 61 rebounds (the Spurs had 58). LA besides iridescent a short time ago 33%. Kaman and Brand combined for 25 rebounds, patch Duncan had 22! They will have two more shots at the Spurs formerly the playoffs (both at den). It's static feisty to get a be aware of how a great deal these teams may bully the Spurs in the West. Perhaps Nowitzki's commentary maths it up best: You have to go done San Antonio to get to the Finals! Good luck, as e'er...Al McMordie.

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