Texas two-step? Stars motivated by Mavs’ march


DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks advanced to the NBA Finals on Thursday night. The Dallas Stars said that’s extra motivation to advance to their own championship round — and potentially make sports history in the process.

“I think it only drives you to get to that same point,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn on Friday, ahead of Game 5 against the Edmonton Oilers with their series tied 2-2. “Obviously, we want to get to the finals here. We’ve got a best of three, with home ice, to do that. Seeing the Mavs almost get to their goal of winning, we want to be there too.”

No city or region has had teams win NBA and NHL championships in the same season.

Teams from the same city/region have advanced to their respective finals 10 times, most recently the Florida Panthers and Miami Heat in 2023. In those scenarios, the NBA team won and the NHL team lost three times; the NHL team won and the NBA team fell short twice; and both teams lost in the finals five times.

The Mavericks and Stars both play in American Airlines Center. Fans were already lined up outside of the arena for NBA Finals tickets when the Stars took the ice for an optional skate at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Forward Wyatt Johnston, in his second year in the NHL, said he wasn’t the biggest basketball fan growing up in Toronto but has gotten into the Mavericks’ run of success.

“Playing in the same arena, being around a team like the Mavs and I’m definitely getting into it a lot more, especially in this playoff run for them,” he said. “The games are really exciting, it’s fun to watch, and I mean it’s great for the city having two teams going on deep runs. It motivates us.”

It’s been quite a run for Dallas sports — the Cowboys notably excepted. The Stars have made the Western Conference finals in consecutive seasons and made the Stanley Cup Final in 2020. The Mavericks, led by star Luka Doncic, made the conference finals in two of the past three seasons before advancing to the NBA Finals this year to face the Boston Celtics.

But Benn noted the spark of that fan enthusiasm in Dallas was the Texas Rangers‘ World Series win last season, the first championship in the team’s history.

“Both [the Stars and Mavericks] got some motivation from the Rangers as well. They started this thing last October and got the city buzzing. It’s a great time to be a sports fan here in Dallas,” he said.

The Stars lost Game 4 in Edmonton on Tuesday night and lost key defenseman Chris Tanev to a foot injury during that game. Coach Pete DeBoer said Friday that Tanev is a game-time decision but that he is “optimistic” the defenseman will play in Game 5.

“He’s a warrior. I’ve known that before he even got here, playing against him,” Benn said. “He really does everything and anything to help his team. He pays the price for his team to give his team the best chance to win.”

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