It’s Win or Go Home Time for the Mavericks

April 28, 2010 – 9:40 am by Chris Fedor

What a rollercoaster season for the Dallas Mavericks.  After starting off slower than they wanted to, the Mavs were the first team to pull the trigger on a big trade at the deadline.  Dallas sent Josh Howard and Drew Gooden to Washington and in return they got Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson.  After they made the trade, Dallas went on a roll winning 13 in a row and looked like a legitimate threat to take down the defending champs in the West.  Even though they had underachieved before, this was a year that looked promising in Big D.  Instead, they look like the same underachieving Mavericks.  Despite finishing the season red-hot and capturing the number two seed in the West, the Mavericks currently find themselves in a 3-2 hole against the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.  While they won last night at home against San Antonio just to extend the series, they still find themselves on the brink of elimination as they head to San Antonio for a pivotal game six.

Josh Howard joined ESPN Radio in Dallas with Ben and Skin to talk about the Mavericks-Spurs series, why this Dallas team is underachieving like so many other Mavericks teams in the past, how he felt about getting traded, and whether or not he would ever come back and play in Dallas.

On what the players are thinking right now in the Mavericks locker room:

“I think right now, I think they’d be thinking this is the last chance before vacation starts.  I don’t think they want to start their vacation right now, especially after the trade.  The success that they had with the wins, and then coming into the playoffs as the pick of the series, I don’t think they want to let the fans down here.  I think they just need to come out, play hard, and leave it all on the court.”

On why this team is underachieving like other Mavs teams in the past:

“You can go a lot of different angles with that.  I would say staying focused through the entire playoff series.  As far as coming out with the game plan and knowing what you wanted to do on the court no matter what the situation is.  I think that’s probably the big thing that we did when we made it to the Finals to help us punch through to get to the Finals.  We stayed committed to the scheme and stuff.  I think that’s one thing.  And I think holding each other accountable.  That’s another thing that helped definitely punch it through.”

On what he was thinking when he was traded:

“I was thinking all the best to them.  They made the trade for a reason and that’s to do what they did.  That’s to come out and play.  Caron, Haywood, and Stevenson, they came out and did what they were supposed to do in the trade and I wish them the best with that.  I was happy to see them succeed and I think they can do it.  Just go out there and like I said earlier, play hard and leave it all out there on the court.”

On how his rehab is going:

“Yeah, I’m like seven weeks into the rehabilitation process and it’s going great.  Right before the season was over with, I had a check-up and the Doctor said I was doing really well and said I was a little ahead of schedule.  If you can do that, it’s positive coming back from rehab.  Everything is looking good, my ankle is great, my wrist is great, and I’m just looking forward to getting back out there.  I know it’s a long summer, but I have time to rehab and get back to my old self again.  Just looking forward to playing somewhere and having a good time.”

On whether or not he has any regrets about his time in Dallas:

“Not at all.  I’ve made a home here just by the things I did on the court and off the court, good and bad.  I’ll always be a Dallas fan and that’s just me.  No regrets.  I’ve enjoyed everything Dallas has brought me and I’ve brought Dallas.”

Listen to Josh Howard on ESPN Radio in Dallas here (Audio begins 8:30 into the podcast)

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