Yesterday, the Los Angeles Lakers scored 86 points and the Dallas Mavericks’ bench scored 86 points. Fortunately for Dallas, Tablet Magazine’s official NBA Playoffs team, the starting five also contributed a few points, and the Mavs won, 122-86, sweeping the defending champion Lakers and advancing to the Western Conference Finals. There they will have home-court advantage as they play the winner of the Memphis Grizzlies-Oklahama City Thunder series.
The Lakers—big but slow, and just as old—were a great match-up for the Mavs, who are small and fast except for their top player (who can do things nobody else in the league can). It’s a weird team, with one mega-star (big man Dirk Nowitzki), a 38-year-old starting point guard (Jason Kidd—’member him?), and a pretty lovable, extremely scrappy set of role players. That sounds a lot like last year’s Phoenix Suns, who also made it to the Western Conference Finals, but got no further. The Grizzlies, which feature Lakers forward Pau Gasol’s tastefully named brother Marc, and the Thunder are both younger and faster, as are potential Finals contenders like the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat (the Boston Celtics, who, sure, are Tablet Magazine’s runner-up official team, may like the Lakers be a step too old and slow to beat the Mavs in a seven-game series).
For now, bask in the defeat of L.A. (always good thing for Good, ahem) and the victory of Mark Cuban. Cubes!
Earlier: Go, Mavs!
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.