When the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets arrived in Houston in late March, they didn’t know what to expect.
As a team, they had never played in Texas, but the Rockets’ history in the Lone Star State was as long and as successful as the Mavericks’.
It wasn’t until the Mavericks landed in Houston on June 2 that they got to play in front of an entirely different audience.
Dallas went 0-2 in their first seven games and never regained its footing in the first half of the season, but that’s where the Mavericks came from.
They were the NBA’s youngest team, and their coach, Lionel Hollins, was a former assistant coach with the Lakers.
They had a lot of young talent, but their biggest challenge in the post-Lakers era has been in finding a balance between developing young talent while building for the future.
Hollins took a different approach to developing his young players, and in many ways it’s worked.
“There’s a lot that I like about it,” said Hollins.
“It’s just that you have to have a good balance between being young and not being young, and having the right people around you.
There’s a balance, and that balance is just not there yet.
We have a lot to work on.
We’ll see how we get there.”
Holls, a former college coach, spent three years coaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before being hired by the Mavericks in 2015.
He took over as head coach of the team a year later, and the team went from 22 wins in 2016-17 to 26 this season.
The Mavericks are playing the third-most minutes per game of any NBA team this season, averaging 103.1.
During that time, the team has won 25 games and dropped three.
Their defense, which ranked last in the league last season, has also improved, allowing just 91.4 points per 100 possessions.
The Mavericks rank in the top 10 in offensive efficiency (110.6), defensive efficiency (111.7) and 3-point percentage (.425).
“We’re always looking to improve,” Hollins said.
“There are a lot more things we need to work at.
We’re not at a level yet where we’re where we need be.
We’ve got to continue to get better.
This team is really special, and we have a great chance to continue building on what we’ve got.
We just have to keep working at it.”
As much as they’ve played hard this season and will play harder this season in the future, the Mavericks have still been challenged to keep pace with the best in the NBA.
If Hollins can keep his young team healthy, the Mavs should be able to continue the trend.
The Rockets are coming off a deep playoff run, but are a completely different team in a year where Houston has lost five of its last six games.
Houston is 5-1 and in first place in the West, with the Mavericks, Spurs and Lakers all on the bubble.
The Warriors are a very different team, but they have been in first for much of the year.
But the Mavericks have been able to play their best basketball this season thanks to a roster that has become one of the league’s elite.
It’s a group that includes Kevin Durant, a two-time NBA MVP, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Russell Howard, Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler, Dwight Powell and Chris Paul.
There’s no guarantee that Houston will win its second straight NBA title this season or that the Rockets will be the first team to win the Western Conference for a record sixth straight season.
But it’s a testament to Hollins and his staff that the Mavericks haven’t lost three straight games in the playoffs and have won seven of their last eight games.
“It’s one of those things that’s kind of been going on for a while,” Hollis said.
When the Rockets arrived on the scene in mid-April, they weren’t exactly expecting to be the ones to take over as the NBA champs.
But Hollins knew that if he kept his young roster in the right places and kept the young players motivated and hungry, he could build a team that could beat anyone.
Houston’s success this season has been built on that core.
Houston has the fourth-best record in the Western conference, with six of its seven games coming against teams with winning records.
As Hollins worked to turn the Mavens into one of this league’s top teams, he had a tough decision to make.
Is he going to take the young team, which he believes has a good chance to become one, and put it through a tough stretch where it might not have the success he was hoping for, or is he going give it a shot?
Hiller said that when he was making the decision, he was thinking about how