NBA Mavericks and NHL Stars chase Dallas double in deepest playoff run together

NBA Mavericks and NHL Stars chase Dallas double in deepest playoff run together


Associated Press

DALLAS – Dereck Lively II of the Dallas Mavericks returned the question to the reporter when the rookie center was asked if he knew why so many fans chanted “Stars” during the national anthem at their home games.

“Tell me why,” Lively said, prompting the explanation that fans of Dallas’ NBA team were offering a shout-out to fans of NHL stars, who for years have shouted their team’s nickname every time he appears during “The Star-Spangled”. Flag.”

“I definitely had a suspicion, but I didn’t want to guess,” the 20-year-old from Duke said. “So that’s what I thought it was.”

The Mavericks and Stars reached the Western Conference finals together in their respective leagues this spring for the first time in the 31 years since the NHL franchise moved south from Minnesota.

Lively and co-stars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have the Mavs in the NBA Finals for the first time in 13 years, with Game 1 in Boston on Thursday. The Stars find themselves in a more challenging position after losing Game 5 on Friday night 3-1 at home against Edmonton, leaving Dallas with a 3-2 deficit heading into Game 6 of the Conference Finals West in Canada on Sunday. The Stanley Cup Final was last played in Dallas in 2000, when the Stars and Mavericks shared the now-demolished Reunion Arena.

It’s a busy spring for American Airlines Center workers, who can turn the ice floor into hardwood, or vice versa, in a matter of hours at the 23-year-old stadium. They do it consistently for six months during the regular season, occasionally for a day-night doubleheader with less than five hours off between games.

By the time these NBA and NHL playoffs are over, the AAC, as locals call it, will have hosted about 25 postseason games after each team played 41 games there in regular seasons that began nearly eight months ago.

It’s just the sixth time NBA and NHL teams that share a stadium have reached the conference finals together, and the first since the Nets and Devils in New Jersey in 2003.

“There’s going to be a lot of stuff sold in this stadium,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said, laughing at himself as he seemed to have the word “alcohol” running around in his brain. “There will be a lot of water sold, so it will be an incredible time here in Dallas. The center will be busy.”

The Texas Rangers won their first World Series last fall, an interesting turn considering they were one strike away from winning the title twice in 2011, when the Mavs were reigning NBA champions.

That 2011 championship is the Mavericks’ only one to date. The Stars won their only Stanley Cup in 1999. Now the clubs are closer than ever to a double in Dallas.

“It’s unbelievable,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “I think both franchises probably got some motivation from the Rangers as well. We’re happy to see the Mavs move forward and do so well. And we support them as much as they support us.”

Even a couple of out-of-town soccer stars are getting into it.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce appeared in a suite with former Stars goalie Marty Turco and many others for a 3-1 win over Edmonton in Game 2.

Those images prompted quarterback and three-time Super Bowl winner Patrick Mahomes, a Texas native, to post on X imploring his favorite receiver to “get out of my arena!!” Mahomes and his wife, Brittany, attend a good number of Mavs games.

A night later, Mahomes and Kelce were sitting side by side on the court as the Mavs beat Minnesosta 116-107 to take a 3-0 series lead.

“It’s great to see us both in the same position right now,” Mavs center Daniel Gafford said. “Something you never thought you’d think about when you were a kid, but now that you’re in a position to think about it, it’s like, ‘Wow.’”

Nathaniel Lowe won his first Gold Glove at first base while helping the Rangers win the championship. The gregarious Lowe seems to enjoy appearing on the video boards when he attends Stars games.

“The DFW area has given me a lot, a lot,” Lowe said, referring to the acronym that includes Fort Worth. “And I feel very fortunate to be part of a championship organization there. “So if that can extend to hockey and basketball and then ideally to football as well, then we have something good going.”

By “football,” Lowe means the Dallas Cowboys, who play just a few hundred yards from the Rangers’ home in Arlington, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. One of the biggest brands in professional sports, the Cowboys haven’t reached an NFC championship game since winning the last of the franchise’s five Super Bowls to end the 1995 season.

Dak Prescott is the latest quarterback to shoulder the burden of trying to make that playoff push, and he sees what’s happening about 30 miles south of America’s Team headquarters in a Dallas suburb.

“It’s not jealousy, but yeah, it turns you on,” said Prescott, who suffered his biggest postseason disappointment in January with a shocking loss at home in the wild-card game, when the Cowboys were favored to beat the Green Bay Packers. .

“I want it for them,” Prescott said. “I want it because it only raises the stakes and makes it harder for me. And I’m in favor of that. Go win it. The rangers did it. Two others are going to do it. Push us more.”