NBA commentary: This year's Mavericks team is different

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Hey Mavs fans remember '06? We got so excited, the Mavs were going to win their first ever championship, but then they choked away the series, something many of us still haven’t come to terms with.

Remember '07? That was the year when they won 67 games, Dirk was MVP, and were the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs. But then it all quickly came to an end as they choked again, losing in six games to the eight-seeded Golden State.

Remember just last year when they were the No. 2 seed and everybody had hope? They had Caron Butler, and Roddy B was a beast. But as is typical for the Mavs they chocked again and couldn’t even get past the first round against an ancient and decrepit, Spurs team.

So when the Mavs went into the playoffs this year as the No. 3 seed, Mavs fans knew to not get their hopes up. Although it’s like the Mavs can feel the doubt from the Dallas metroplex, and they have finally responded.

This team is up 2-0 on the two time defending champion Lakers, and if you were just watching the screen with no previous NBA knowledge, you would think the Mavs were champs.

The team is playing with more heart and desire than in years past and you can see the determination not to fail again in their faces. This was evident after they blew a 23 point lead in the first round against the Blazers in game four, and did not quit, instead winning games five and six to advance.

This change can partly be attributed to Tyson Chandler, and the toughness he brings to the team. Plus Chandler brings with him an emphasis on defense, and the leadership skills to back it up and enforce it.

However I think the change goes even deeper than that. I believe that this roster of 30 something former all-stars, with a combined zero championship rings, has finally decided that this year might be their best and final chance to really win a title, and it shows.

So when the Lakers come out tonight with their hair on fire, and get up quickly by 10, Mavs fans shouldn’t be concerned like in years past. Because this team is different, it won’t choke or make excuses and complain to the refs. They’ll put their heads down and play Mavericks’ basketball, which unlike in years past starts with defense.