At least we know this much about the Mavericks: they will respond to humiliation.
At least, they do when the bar is lowered.
A night after getting overwhelmed in San Antonio by a Spurs' team that was missing two all-stars, they returned to American Airlines Center to blister the Milwaukee Bucks 116-96 Wednesday. They got diverse production from numerous players and made up for the 34-point blowout they absorbed last month in Milwaukee.
But it hardly seemed satisfying, not after what happened the previous night, when the short-handed Spurs held the Mavericks to 76 points and won by 17.
But, a win is a win and at this point, with the playoff picture changing every day, they all count -- even over the 28-32 Bucks..
Josh Howard had 27 points to pace the Mavericks, who placed five other players in double figures. They went without a center virtually the whole night as the Bucks played without Andrew Bogut.
The Mavericks fell behind 15-7 in the first quarter, then outscored the Bucks 58-26 the rest of the half. Their giant cushion was safe throughout the second half. It would shrink to 94-83 early in the fourth quarter, but a flurry of buckets ended that brief glimmer of drama.
Perhaps the best bit of news for the Mavericks was that Dirk Nowitzki seemed to snap out of what had been a three-game slump. He hit 6-of-10 shots and while he only scored 14 points, it was significant that he beat Milwaukee's constant double teams with a couple of nice moves in the fourth quarter.
He also picked up four assists.
Williams taking leave: If you haven't noticed Shawne Williams on the Mavericks' bench lately, there's a reason.
He's not there.
Williams has been in Memphis for the last month or so, ostensibly to let a foot problem heal.
But owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday: "We're helping him work through some issues.''
According to the Mavericks' players' log, the 6-9 forward has not been with the team for "personal reasons" since Jan. 23.
It is believed the Mavericks have resigned themselves to playing the rest of the season without Williams, who played only 15 games before his departure. When he was acquired in a trade in October for Eddie Jones and two second-round draft picks, Williams brought with him substantial off-the-court troubles. At the time, coach Rick Carlisle said: "If any of that stuff ever came up again, his (butt) would be grass and me, Donnie (Nelson) and Mark would be the lawnmowers. It's got to be professional all the way.''
Nelson said that, for now, Williams and Gerald Green are in the same boat: "Our focus is 100 percent on the playoffs and the development of young players right now has to be secondary,'' he said.
The Mavericks are on the hook for Williams' salary next season, about $2.4 million.
Blackman gets honor: Former Mavericks' star Rolando Blackman will be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday in Waco.
Blackman is one of seven athletes with Texas ties that will be enshrined. Blackman is second on the Mavericks' all-time scoring list at 16,643 points, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki.