- Tim MacMahon, ESPNDallas.com
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A 5-6 slump hasn't lowered expectations or limited the swagger of the Dallas Mavericks, starting with the man who signs the checks.
Owner Mark Cuban oozed confidence during a guest appearance Monday night on Jason Terry's radio show on ESPN 103.3 FM, pointing out that the Mavericks aren't the only Western Conference power that has had problems recently.
"Half the teams are sucking wind, and half the teams are playing well," Cuban said. "... The Lakers are getting torched at home worse than we've been the last few games. Oklahoma City has been playing well, but they haven't had an injury yet -- literally, not one single injury of any consequence -- so it'll be interesting to see if they can keep that up.
"You look down the list, and nobody's afraid of anybody. Nobody looks at us and says, 'We're afraid of them.' Look, if we dial in, we know we can kill anybody. It's just a question of focus."
The Spurs, who have pulled within two games of the Mavericks in the Southwest Division, are tied with Oklahoma City at the Nos. 6 and 7 spots. And Portland, currently at No. 8, still has plenty of opportunity to improve its seeding.
Cuban acknowledged that the Mavs have proved they can lose to anybody when they just go through the motions. With five games remaining in the regular season and the Mavs in the midst of a battle royale for playoff seeding, you'd think that wouldn't be a problem.
"If you look down the list, who are the stars that beat us?" Cuban said. "It's the rest of the team when we're out there. You know, we're shutting down Carmelo [Anthony]. We're holding down Kobe [Bryant]. We're holding down Brandon Roy.
"Then we just relax, and that's when we get beat."
"The big thing is we're not panicking," Jason Kidd said Tuesday. "We know what we have to address. We're together, that's not a question."
A 5-6 slump hasn't lowered expectations or limited swagger for the Dallas Mavericks, starting with owner Mark Cuban.