"We are digging out of a hole," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, a truth as Dallas entered Sunday, and the second half of the NBA schedule, with a 17-24 record. But the Mavs exited Orlando with a 111-105 victory, a win that suggests that while this team remains flawed, it is at least armed with a shovel and a pickax.
A few days ago, the Mavericks were 10 games below .500 for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. The outlook was dismal enough to fuel speculation as to whether it might be advantageous for the team to "tank" -- to play not to win, but to find away to increase its lottery position in this summer's NBA Draft.
That's an easy approach for fans and media to take ... but a difficult one to spring on the actual partipants, who see themselves as a team that is 1-8 this season in OT games, a team that in all 10 January games leading up to Sunday owned a lead in the fourth quarter but won just half of those games. And now, after a fifth win in six outings?
"It's been tough...