Dallas, TX – While the top of the Western Conference standings are set in stone, the bottom half of the playoff picture is a toss up. The Dallas Mavericks (42-39) managed to clinch a playoff berth on Monday night with their 101-92 victory over the Utah Jazz, and have climbed into the 6th spot in the standings, and are still looking to climb even more.
If the season ended right now, the Mavericks would take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, avoiding the Golden State Warriors (looking for the season record 73rd win tonight) and the San Antonio Spurs. To stay in that spot, the Mavericks would need the Grizzlies to lose tonight in Golden State, or they would need to beat San Antonio tonight in Big D. A win by Memphis and a loss by Dallas tonight would slide the Mavericks back into the seventh spot, taking on San Antonio.
While the 8th spot is no option (thank God!), the Mavericks could also even slide all the way up to 5th. To do so, the Blazers would have to drop their game tonight against Denver, and the Mavericks would have to beat the Spurs as well. This would bring on the mouth watering match-up of the Mavericks and Clippers in a 7-game series. Do I need to say more?
That brings us to tonight. The Spurs needed overtime last night to beat an Oklahoma City Thunder team, playing without their big guns (Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka). While we already figured that the Spurs would possibly rest some players, the fact that it took overtime has increased those chances, which is why this was reported not too long after their game:
Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker both confirmed they will be among the Spurs contingent skipping the Dallas trip.
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 13, 2016
While it would be nice for the Mavericks to be able to rest some of their guys tonight, they won’t be able to know the outcome of the match-ups between Golden State & Memphis, and Denver & Portland. This will most likely mean that the Mavericks will have everyone available, except for maybe J.J. Barea, who didn’t look all that healthy on Monday night.
What a difference a couple of weeks makes. On March 27th, the Mavericks got steamrolled by Rajon Rondo and the Sacramento Kings, 133-111. That was their fifth loss in their past six games, and the Mavericks had fallen out of the top eight in the Western Conference. Chandler Parsons had to announce season ending knee surgery and Deron Williams was out with a sports hernia, so season was pretty much in doubt, and MFFL’s everywhere were beginning to plan the next tv series to check out come playoff time.
Then, Rick Carlisle found a way to yet again show how great of a coach he is in this league. Since March 27th, the Mavericks have won seven of their last eight games, and will now find themselves somewhere between 5 and 8 in the Western Conference playoff picture.
“Well, it’s been a lot of work,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s been an amazing two weeks. Our guys looked like they were down and out, and we all dug in. Everyone dug in, especially the players, and we found a way to get into the playoffs.”
Dirk Nowitzki has once again helped lead his team to a playoff berth, but they don’t want to stop there.
“You know, this team wants to be as high of a seed as possible, and that’s what we’re going to try to do,” Williams told the Mavericks’ official website. “And we’ll try to take care of business at home against San Antonio.”
Come late tonight, we will know where the Mavericks stand, but one thing is for sure. The Mavericks are riding their recent momentum, and that can’t ever be a bad thing, right?
Make sure to check out our very first episode of our new podcast, Triple Threat. Let us know what you think!
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