The NBA season is 10 days old. And four teams have yet to collect a victory.
The Dallas Mavericks are one of those four teams, and they’re exceedingly unhappy about it.
“You can see my demeanor right now,” shooting guard Wesley Matthews said after Thursday’s practice. “You can only imagine.
“Multiply it by 10. I’m a lot [upset].”
The Mavericks are 0-4. That’s the bad news.
The good news is the only other time in the Mavericks’ 36-year history that they’ve been 0-4 they buckled down and won 67 of their final 78 games and entered the playoffs with the best record in the NBA at 67-15.
That occurred during the 2006-07 season — back when Dirk Nowitzki was 28 years old and claimed the league’s Most Valuable Player award. Nowitzki is now 38 and in the twilight of his career.
This squad isn’t as lethal on the offensive end as the 2006-07 team. Thus, wins are more difficult to come by, since they’re just 25th in the league in scoring at 98 points per game.
“Nobody likes losing, I hate it, everybody here hates it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “But we’ve got to play better and we’ve got to do things a few ounces harder and a few ounces better.
“When you don’t do them well — the little things well — it adds up and those things take it out of you during the course of the game.”
The Mavericks have never been 0-5 in their history, and this is the first time Carlisle has started a season 0-4 in his 15-year coaching career.
Not even the Mavericks of the 1990s, when they posted some of the most dreadful records in NBA history and were the butt of the late-night talk show hosts’ jokes, got off to 0-4 start. Thus, this is uncharted territory in Mavs Nation.
The Mavericks will try and crack the win column at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they host Portland (2-3) at American Airlines Center.
“I feel like we need a win,” Mathews said. “I feel like tomorrow needs to hurry up and get here, everybody get some rest, get some sleep and get ready to go to war.
“It’s not an X’s and O’s thing any more. It’s heart, it’s guts, it’s going out there and getting a win by any means necessary.”
The Mavericks might be without Matthews’ backcourt mate — point guard Deron Williams — against the Blazers. Carlisle said Williams is questionable for Friday’s game with a strained groin.
“Next man up,” Matthews said. “Whoever’s on the court, whoever is suiting up, whoever is getting ready to play, we’ve got to bring everything that we’ve got and try to get a win.”
And that’s not all a disappointing Matthews suggested.
“We’ve all got to come in with one thing in mind, and that’s to get a win,” he said. “We’ve got to play like our contracts, our lives, our families, everything depends on it.
“We’ve got to go out here and be the team that we know we can be, the team that we still have confidence in that we are, and find a way to get it done.”