Mavs, Spurs proving computers right

DALLAS – Maybe John Hollinger’s computer has some credibility when it comes to the Mavs after all.

Hollinger’s Power Rankings have been a source of contempt for MFFLs all season long. What kind of statistical formula consider the second seed in the West slightly above mediocre? How could the West’s seventh seed be ranked as the second-best team in the NBA?

It doesn’t seem so silly now that the Spurs have their foot on the Mavs’ throat, huh?

The stat geeks’ biggest beef with the Mavs was their unimpressive average point differential (+2.7), which is the worst among West playoff teams and slightly half as high as the Spurs’. Dallas’ tendency to win tight games (a league-best 18-7 in games decided by five or fewer points) gets dismissed as more luck than skill.

I’ll admit that I didn’t buy that line of thinking, no matter what sort of statistical logic the calculator crowd could throw out. I figured a team with proven clutch performers like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry deserved credit for being able to keep winning close games.

The Mavs’ trip to San Antonio certainly shot a hole in that theory. The Spurs (8-10 in games decided by five or fewer points) put the Mavs on the verge of elimination by pulling out a pair of close wins.

No need to be a math whiz to figure out the Mavs’ odds of making the second round are slim now.