The Dallas Morning News (Eddie Sefko) reports:  The Mavericks are 16-5 since the first 17 days of the season. But that crummy start still mars their overall record. At 18-12, they are on pace to win 49 games – not too shabby, given the 2-7 start.  They have shown they are a good road team, with 10 wins already. They have embraced coach Rick Carlisle’s everybody-plays style, and the offense has gotten more fluid as the season has progressed. But if there’s one stamp on the Mavericks that is a sure-fire measure of success, it’s their defense. Yes, their defense.