While watching the Dallas Mavericks lose in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets earlier this week, I could help but think “wow, there’s no way this bunch is making the playoffs.” But then, the Mavs played another overtime game on Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder and won 128-119, which made me think “wow, there’s no possible way this bunch won’t make the playoffs!”
At the end of the day, the Maverick need to finish off this eight-game home stand strong and how some mental toughness while doing it, like they did against Oklahoma City. That means no more wetting the bed down the stretch against teams like the Nets and Timberwolves AT HOME. The Mavs will go up against the lowly Sacramento Kings on Saturday and finish out the home stand with the Golden State Warriors on April 1st. Both of those games are absolute must wins.
If the Mavs end their longest home stand in franchise history with a .500 record or below and they also miss the playoffs, then that will be at the top of the list as to why. Their last two games of the season are against the very teams that they are fighting for their playoff lives against: the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies. Those two games may ultimately decide who get in to the postseason, but the Mavs can’t afford to make any stupid mistakes before that. Creating at least a little desperation is going to be key.
Everyone knows that this team is one of the elite offensive teams in the league with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis. They’ve got a great bench with the trio of Vince Carter, Devin Harris and Brandan Wright. If they make the playoffs, they have what it takes to give a team headaches in the first round. But just trying to get in the playoffs in the beast that is the Western Conference is going to take every ounce of mental toughness that the Mavs have, and we know they have what it takes.
This isn’t a young inexperienced team. This is a team full of veterans that know what they have to do to survive into April. That was seen against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. It was seen when they swept the season series with the Indiana Pacers. And, I believe it will be seen when they play the Suns and Grizzlies during the last two games of the season.
There are just no room for mistakes for the Mavericks, such as messing up the last portion of this home stand. Every game counts, and the Mavs know that.