DALLAS, TX- Last night the Dallas Mavericks took a step forward in their playoff march by beating the Sacremento Kings for the 20th straight time at home. While the Mavs have done a solid job at beating some of the bottom feeders of the West, they have struggled against some of the playoff bound teams in the league. Most recently the Los Angeles Clippers and the Brooklyn Nets. If the Mavs are going to have any shot at squeaking into the playoffs, they will need the help of some of the upper tier teams.
While every player will stick to the old cliche, “We got to take it one game at a time, we just have worry about ourselves, etc,” fans are always checking the scoreboards. In particular, all eyes are on are on two teams, the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies. Currently, Mavs are on the outside looking in behind these two teams.
Tonight, Memphis travels to Portland to take on the fading Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldrige’s has returned to the team and are starting to look like the team that got off to the hot start at the beginning of the season. Barring an incredible finish by the Mavs and an epic collapse by the Trail Blazers, Mavs fans should be pulling for Portland to take this one. If Portland wins, Memphis’s will fall behind the Mavs in win percentage and move Dallas in the eighth spot in the west.
Another game on the west coast to look out for is the Phoenix Suns at the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are coming off of a horrific 143-107 loss to the reeling Minnesota Timberwolves. While the Suns don’t pose the same mismatches down low for Lakers like the Timberwolves did, the Phoenix offense led by Goran Dragic and Gerald Green will be a handful for the Lakers’s inept defense. I wouldn’t expect much going in the Mavs’s favor tonight in L.A., however on Wednesday the Suns will return to the Staples Center and face off against the Clippers. The best Dallas can hope for is a Suns split in Los Angeles this week.
Looking ahead, the Mavericks play the final game of the home stand against the sixth place Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, April 1st. The last time these to teams played was a forgettable 108-85 loss in Oakland. Dirk Nowitzki put up a mere 12 points on 4 of 11 shooting. Now that it is clutch time, Dirk has called in the big guns and brought in his shooting coach and mentor Holger Geschwindner. Since Holger’s return to Dallas, Dirk has not shot less than 47% from the field. Finding his shot in addition to the next two days off could mean good things for the Mavs on Tuesday at the AAC.
Dallas has eight games left in the season, and five of the opponents are potential or locked playoff teams. The last two games on Dallas’s schedule are against Phoenix and Memphis. If everything falls right for the Mavs next week, the whole season could hinge upon game 81 in Dallas and 82 at Memphis.