DALLAS — If you’re superstitious, and many athletes and fans fall in this category whether they admit it or not, perhaps there was a silver lining in the cloudburst that drenched the Mavericks in Game 3.
Dallas’ stupendous 29-0 record when leading after one quarter? The Mavericks’ amazing 41-2 mark when taking a lead of 10 or more points?
Apparently the Clippers either didn’t know better, or care, because in Friday’s Game 3 they spotted Dallas a 30-11 lead, trailed 34-31 after the first quarter and won by 10.
Blowing leads was a problem for last season’s Mavericks, who lost 13 games in which they led by a double-digit margin. Six of those lost leads were 14 points or greater.
Before Friday night, the only games this season in which Dallas lost after leading by 10 or more points were against the same opponent, Phoenix, in back-to-back games in American Airlines Center — more than three months ago.
On Jan. 30 Dallas led the Suns 74-59 with 6:01 left in the third quarter but lost 111-105. Two nights later the Mavericks led Phoenix 77-66 with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter and lost 109-108.
The difference Friday night was that the Mavericks squandered their lead in the first half, trailed by two at halftime and only led once in the second half — 75-74 on a Luka Doncic 3-pointer.
“We were super hyped about having our fans and it was super loud and that pushed us as a team,” Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber said of the crowd of 17,705 and Dallas’ fast start.
“We got an early big lead, but we have to like keep that lead, maintain it. We can’t give it away in like two minutes and let them come back like that.”
The Mavericks’ unblemished record when leading after one quarter, in particular, has been a near season-long source of pride — and angst — among Mavericks fans on Twitter.
Some fans asked reporters for the updated record, while others expressed dismay when it was tweeted, fearing that the mention of it would hex the Mavericks and guarantee a loss that night.
Others hoped that, since it was inevitable that the streak would end at some point, better to have it happen in the regular season. Now fans, and perhaps some superstitious players and coaches, no longer need to worry about it.
Another silver lining, perhaps: If the streak was going to end during the playoffs, better to happen when your team is leading its series 2-0.
There were no signs of black cats or broken mirrors and this Friday game wasn’t on the 13th — ladders are, however, brought out before the game and during halftime to sanitize the backboards.
Perhaps a Maverick walked under one of the ladders. Or maybe a sportswriter’s tweet jinxed Dallas.