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Mavericks Playoff Woes Continue: Are Dallas Sports Teams Cursed?


Forget the Chicago Cubs' curse. As I'm from Texas, I really could give a rip what happens in Chicago, unless my team is on the road. No, the curse I'm worried about seems to be developing right in front of our eyes. And I'm only speaking to my folks in the Dallas/Arlington area here. And to make things perfectly clear, this curse-in-the-making started with Tony Romo, on that infamous game-winning field goal that never happened in the Dallas Cowboys' first-round NFL playoff loss against the Seattle Seahawks in 2006.



Oh well, that was just one season, one franchise... Right?

It sure seemed that way. The Dallas Mavericks had just beaten their in-state rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, in a thrilling 7-game series to win the Western Conference and advance to the NBA Finals.

This was it. The Dallas Mavericks were going to get their shot at the NBA Championship for the first time in franchise history. The 2006 NBA Finals were underway, with the Dallas Mavericks up two games to none against the Miami Heat, who were led by Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O'Neal. The Mavericks were poised to cruise to an NBA Championship. After Romo's miraculous blunder, the moment of redemption had finally arrived for a Dallas sports franchise.

But then Dwayne Wade suddenly started playing like a man possessed, and the Dallas Mavericks lost four straight games in a a row. The franchise still has never won an NBA Championship.

Expectations of a Dallas championship were sky-high after the first two games... but then, just like in the NFL playoffs months before, those warm and fuzzy feelings were replaced by sheer horror, shock, and disbelief. The ice crumbled beneath our feet, plunging Dallas sports fans into an icy, frigid, cold lake of despair.

No Dallas-based franchise has made it out of the first round of the playoffs since.

The Mavericks were upset in the first round of the 2007 playoffs, despite posting one of the best records in NBA regular season history.

And the Texas Rangers look like they'll never be competitive again.

And the Dallas Cowboys appear to be in serious need of Divine Intervention after being upset by the lowly and unworthy New York Giants in the first round of the 2008 NFL Playoffs... granted, the Giants did go on to win the Super Bowl, but the 07-08 New York Giants clearly weren't even in the same league as the 13-3 Dallas Cowboys, who were 2-0 against the Giants in the regular season. By my estimation, the Cowboys have earned honors as back-to-back honorary Super Bowl Champions, after posting winning records against the two previous Super Bowl champions, also defeating the 06-07 Indianapolis Colts by a score of 24-14.

But they didn't make it past the first round of the playoffs either year. And why not? Because of the new curse that was initiated by Tony Romo, and sealed by the Maverick's loss in the 2008 NBA Finals.

So no Metroplex sports team has made it out of the first round of the playoffs since 2003, when the Dallas Stars defeated the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. And that's hockey. Hockey doesn't even count. Hockey ranks lower than Poker, bowling, and pool as far as I'm concerned. But hockey does rank higher than soccer. I couldn't care less if there's a soccer team in Dallas or not.

And now, at the time of this writing, the Dallas Mavericks are playing against the New Orleans Hornets, and the Mavericks don't even appear to be a playoff-caliber team. They're down two games to none, and their defense in game two was atrocious. The image of Dirk Nowitzki watching helplessly as the Hornets buzzed around the goal for a few spectacular alley-oop dunks was an embarrassment to the franchise. And Dallas' perimeter defense was just as bad once they started desperately guarding the paint, leaving the perimeter wide open, eventually allowing the Hornets to hit 10 three-pointers. After the Mavericks' defense allowed 67 in the first half alone, the game was essentially over. Only two teams had ever allowed that many points in the first half of a playoff game before, and needless to say, neither of them won.

And just like Dewayne Wade almost single-handedly crushed the Dallas Mavericks in the '06 Finals, Hornets' point guard Chris Paul has been a huge thorn in the side of the Mavericks in the 2008 playoffs. And after two outstanding performances in the playoffs so far, Paul seemed to be mocking the Mavericks, and referencing their historical collapse in 2006:

"It's the first team to four. We could easily go 2-4 now... It's never satisfying until you get four wins."

Yeah, that's the funny thing about sports. If you don't win a championship, you bring shame upon yourself, your franchise, and your fans.

Author G.K. Chesterton once observed that "Even a bad shot is dignified when he accepts a duel." And that may be so. But even a duel between two dignified men must end with the death of one. I would liken this current stretch of playoff losses by Dallas teams to a championship boxing match. Imagine, after years of fighting, your favorite boxer has finally earned a shot at the title. Then the big day comes, and he gets knocked out in the first round. Still, full of confidence, the boxer earns a rematch for the title... and get knocked out in the first round again... and again... and again...

So much for dignity... not to mention pride and respect.

So do something to make us proud of Dallas sports franchises again, Mavericks, for God's sake. You must have learned something from that '06 Finals loss. It's the law of Karma. Nothing that devastating should happen, without something good coming out of it. You owe us 4 straight, not to mention an NBA Championship. So put your rally caps on, and let's roll.

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