Mavs invite barber to game against Pacers

DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks hope they are about done with beards on their faces. But at Thursday morning’s shootaround, the players — one game below .500 and therefore one win away from reaching their goal of shaving off their “.500 beards’ — also hopes to avoid having egg on their faces.

“I don’t know,” said O.J. Mayo when asked whether his friend “Omar the Barber” is prepared to enter the American Airlines Center locker room tonight to shear the facial hair grown by Mayo, Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Jae Crowder and others as a bond of unity back when the 35-36 team was seven games below .500 at 21-28. “We have to win the game first.”

Dallas is hoping to register a home win tonight over the Pacers. If accomplished, the Mavs will have won 10 of 13 to push themselves into true contention for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

The chance to shave came into focus on Tuesday when the Mavs beat the Clippers — an opportunity to go from one sort of clippers to another, if you will.

“Everyone will have the clippers in the locker room Thursday,” Mayo said that night. “Hopefully guys can watch us shave it off. The barber will be here. We’ll leave him tickets (for the game) and hopefully give ourselves a chance to shave it off. I want to do it right. I don’t want any patches. I’m ready to shave it.”

Now the visit from Omar is something Mayo doesn’t want to jinx. But Nowitzki concedes that his wife hates his bushy beard. And Brand jokes that there are two Mavs priorities.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to,” Brand said. “Making the playoffs is most important but shaving is essential.”