The Dallas Mavericks’ Ace In the Hole: The Joy of Playing for a Winner

February 25th, 2010 by Tom Delamater Leave a reply »
Even before the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night, it was clear the Mavs were big winners among teams that were active before the NBA trade deadline.

Dallas pulled off a great deal to acquire Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson from the Washington Wizards. If it doesn’t make them instant contenders for the Western Conference crown, it puts them on the cusp.

Butler and Haywood have merged seamlessly with Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and Shawn Marion to give the Mavericks a potent starting lineup. After a bump in the road for one game after the trade, the Mavs have won five straight, including impressive victories over Phoenix, Orlando, Miami, and the Lakers.

It’s a good sign, particularly since Haywood might have been viewed as a long-term, rather than short-term, key to the deal. Initially expected to back up Erick Dampier in the middle, Haywood was immediately pressed into the starting lineup when Dampier mutilated a finger against Oklahoma City.

All Haywood has done in the five games since is average 12 points and 11.6 rebounds while averaging more than 36 minutes a ...

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