This was a pivotal week for the Dallas Mavericks.
They beat the Portland Trailblazers on Friday and followed that up with a win against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday along with downing the Utah Jazz yesterday. The Mavs did lose a game on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors, which did not help them in their quest to get the highest playoff seed possible, but their wins against Portland and Indiana made that loss a little easier to swallow.
This week, the Mavs put themselves two games ahead the Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot and are percentage points behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 7 seed (The Mavs also own the tiebreaker over Memphis). So now there’s only one thing for the Mavs to do. Hang on, and hang on tight.
I think that this week showed that the Mavs will be able to nab one of the final spots in the Western Conference, barring a bad collapse, but their work isn’t done yet. Just keep winning games.
Dallas will face a huge challenge on Sunday as they will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road. But after that? Eight straight games at the American Airlines Center. If I was a player or coach on the Mavericks and I’m looking at the schedule, my eyes would light up at the sight of that. An eight-game home stand in the middle of the playoff race means the basketball gods are smiling on you.
Plus, look at the teams the Mavs have to play during those eight games. The Celtics, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Nets, Thunder, Clippers and Kings. Five of those are teams that the Mavs should beat on their home court. The Nets, Thunder and Clippers will be the toughest tests, but I could see the Mavs pulling out two wins out of those three. We saw this past weekend how home court advantage helped the Mavs against playoff teams like the Blazers and Pacers, and I think we will see that again late in March.
I think the Mavs have to go at least 6-2 during this upcoming home stand if their goal is to get the highest playoff seed possible. They still have to play Golden State, Phoenix and Memphis each one more time in April. Those three games will likely be three of the biggest games of the season as far as playoff positioning goes. Dallas has the luxury of playing the rest of their March games at home creating more separation between themselves and Phoenix and jumping past Memphis.
That is something they have to take advantage of.