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Mavs looking more like team built after Williams rejection, and might be in time for playoffs

  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban yells at officials during the fourth quarter of a NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 105-100. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)The Associated Press

  • Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, right, protests a call to referee Leon Wood during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 105-100. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)The Associated Press

  • Dallas Mavericks forward Elton Brand (42) shoots as he is hit by Houston Rockets forward Marcus Morris, rear, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 105-100. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)The Associated Press

  • Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) adjusts his socks before entering during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/John F. Rhodes)The Associated Press

The Dallas Mavericks are finally playing like the team they thought they built after Deron Williams spurned them in the offseason.

If they keep this up, it might not be too late to extend their playoff streak to 13 seasons.

The Mavericks have won a season-best four straight games since dropping 10 below .500 for the first time since their last non-playoff year in 2000. Dirk Nowitzki shows a new sign of his old self nearly every game as he recovers from knee surgery that sidelined him the first two months.

And owner Mark Cuban has declared the "Bank of Cuban is open" a year and a half after he chose financial flexibility over bringing back key pieces of the franchise's first championship team.