DALLAS, TX- The Dallas Mavericks, for the first time since the 2010-2011 season, cracked the 50 win mark with a 114-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
On a night that had zero meaning for Dallas in terms of playoff seeding, the Mavs came out of the gate strong, jumping out to a 21-9 lead with 4:13 left in the first quarter. Tyson Chandler easily had his best game of 2015, recording a double-double before halftime and ended as the game’s leading scorer with 22 points to go along with 15 rebounds.
After jumping out to a 16 point lead midway through the 2nd period, Portland ended the half on an 11-3 run to cut Dallas’ lead to 56-51 going into the half.
Despite the furious run by the Blazers to end the first half, Dallas wasn’t fazed. The Mavericks opened the 3rd quarter on a 25-9 run to push their lead to 81-60. It wouldn’t be long after before head coach Rick Carlisle pulled his starters, relying almost solely on the bench through the fourth quarter.
Amar’e Stoudemire chipped in 13 points off the bench and Raymond Felton, who has come on strong as of late, scored 10, including a buzzer beater at the end of the 3rd quarter to give the Mavericks a little boost of momentum.
By winning tonight, Dallas was able to go 14-13 since the All-Star Break. And while that mark might not seem that impressive, the Mavericks actually had the toughest schedule of anyone else in the NBA, with their opponents garnering a combined .558 winning percentage.
More importantly, the Mavs, in front of their home crowd, were given a jolt of energy and are sailing into the playoffs on an incredibly high note.
Coming into tonight’s game, there were multiple scenarios for who might get the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. In fact, at the start of the game, the Los Angeles Clippers held that position. That no longer is the case.
New Orleans and Oklahoma City were vying for the last playoff position, and OKC had to win and get help from the Pelicans in order for that to happen.
Fortunately for Mavs fans, it didn’t. New Orleans took care of business, after almost blowing an 18 point lead, and held on to beat the Spurs 108-103.
This means the Western Conference playoff picture is set, and Dallas will play the Houston Rockets in the first round. Houston won the season series 3 games to 1, but Mavericks fans and analysts alike agree this is indeed the more favorable matchup.
One other interesting tidbit. Every member of the Southwest Division made the playoffs. Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and New Orleans.
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