As far as the Dallas Mavericks are concerned, the most popular barber in town is Omar.
Omar is the barber of shooting guard O.J. Mayo and some of the other Mavericks’ players. And around the Mavs’ locker room, Omar is like Oprah or Madonna, in that the last name isn’t necessary.
Omar will have a lot of work on his hands if the Mavs (35-36) defeat the Indiana Pacers (45-27) when the teams collide at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at American Airlines Center.
When the Mavericks were 21-28 after a Feb. 6 victory over Portland, Mayo rallied the troops and reached a pact with most of his teammates that they wouldn’t shave until their record reached the .500 mark. The scraggly beards could come off tonight with a victory over the Pacers.
“Everyone will have their clippers in the locker room Thursday, and hopefully you guys can watch us shave it off,” Mayo said. “The barber will be here, we’re going to leave [Omar] tickets and give ourselves a chance to shave it off.”
The last time the Mavericks were at .500 was at 11-11 on Dec. 12 after a 117-115 double-overtime loss at Boston. Since then, they’ve been more down than up, although they’ve been trending upward lately with nine wins in the past 12 games.
“I’m going to make sure he does it right,” Mayo said of Omar. “I don’t want there to be any patches.”
Nowitzki, who has taken on the appearance of a mountain man, also is hopeful that the experiment comes to an end Thursday.
“I don’t really want to jinx it, but I’m ready to get this thing off,” Nowitzki said. “So it’s a big outing for us against a very good, tough team from the Eastern Conference.”
Center Elton Brand said he’s looking forward to what Thursday will bring, and the fact that the fuzzy hair on his chin and neck may have spent its last night on his face. But then, Brand amended things by saying: “I might keep [the beard]. I might miss it. It’s been with me so long, and it means something. I’m getting used to it, so I don’t know. My wife doesn’t like it, so it might have to come off.”
Impossible as it may seem, coach Rick Carlisle is not a student of the NBA standings, even if his team in right smack in the middle of a heated race with the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
“I’ve been asked many times in this room about looking at the standings,” Carlisle said. “I don’t look at the standings, I study the next opponent.
“We’ve all got to focus on what’s right here in front of our nose, and not be looking out in the wild blue yonder. If we do that we’ll win our share, and if we’re supposed to get in, we’ll get in.”
Mavs have hope
With Tuesday’s 109-102 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, center Elton Brand said the Mavs still have hope of making the playoffs.
“If we’d won against Brooklyn and OKC, I think it would have been more belief, but now I still think it’s hope,” Brand said. “We know we have an uphill battle because it’s not all the way in our hands right now.
“Utah can win out, the Lakers could win out. We play the Lakers [Tuesday in LA], and that’s going to be a big game for us, but we still need help, but it’s still at a hope level. But at a higher hope level.”