Even though the Dallas Mavericks are dropping further down in the standings, there are little things here and there that the season may be salvaged.
Following another destructive loss to the Spurs, 111-86 on Sunday, Rick Carlisle began blasting his players, saying fines and even suspensions might be coming if play didn't improve.
The result of that came Tuesday when the Mavs went into DC and took care of the Wizards 103-94.
Granted, it just meant the Mavs swept a season series against a team that may very well be looking for its third top three draft pick in four years. But the signs were there.
Darren Collison had one of his better all-around games in a while, with 15 points and 8 assists. Vince Carter found something in the tank once again with 23 points. And little by little, Dirk Nowitzki showed steady improvement, with 11 points in 17 minutes.
But it was the following night in Miami that Nowitzki had the breakout performance of the year - against the team he cemented his legacy against two years ago.
Dirk had 19 points in 29 minutes as the Mavs went into Miami and took the defending champion Heat to the limit and beyond.
Dirk made the last six points for the Mavs in the fourth quarter, as the Mavs led 100-94 with three minutes to play. Miami came all the way back, with Shane Batteir's three-pointer with 14 seconds left gave them a 103-101 lead. But Dirk came right back with his well-known fadeaway that tied the game with less than four seconds left.
Dirk did not score again after that, as Miami outscored Dallas 16-6 in the extra period to keep the Mavs winless in overtime games this year.
But it was still the best performance from their MVP the Mavs have seen since his return. And with 30 points from O.J. Mayo, they can also have hope that Mayo may have gotten out of his slump that even had Dirk concerned.
Is this the beginning of a turnaround? The answers may come Saturday when the Mavs host New Orleans.