Dallas Mavericks: Assessing their most favorable playoff match-up

Assuming the NBA season resumes at some point, we’re looking at the best case playoff scenario for the Dallas Mavericks. This is who the Mavs hope to meet in the playoffs…

The floundering Dallas Mavericks have been in a bit of a slump. Their clutch deficiencies have led to a 2-game losing streak earlier in the week and with only 15-games left in the season, they are going to wrong way in the standings.

Given the chasm between eighth and ninth place in the west, it’s unlikely the Dallas mavericks could fall out of the playoff mix at this point. So it’s more about jockeying for position right now and some options look considerably more attractive than others. We already looked at the least favorable match-up yesterday.

So today, we look at the most favorable…

Houston Rockets 4th vs. 5th seed Dallas Mavericks

Sadly, because neither team is playing better basketball than the Oklahoma City Thunder right now, this is also probably the least likely match-up. A Rockets – Mavericks first round would be what Mavericks fans should hope for. Not only because the Rockets knocked the Mavericks out of the playoffs two of their last three trips, but this is probably the most winnable match-up for the young Mavericks.

The Houston Rockets have gone all in with an analytical approach to basketball trading their center Clint Capela, opting to start 6’5″ P.J. Tucker at center instead. I agree with the Rockets overrated general manager Daryl Morey that the move will open up the court for star Russell Westbrook.

I don’t however believe that the move will propel the Rockets to playoff success. I won’t say the Rockets are the worst of the playoff teams. I will say however that they appear to be the team worst prepared for the playoffs.

The Dallas Mavericks could possibly exploit the Rockets’ weaknesses better than any other team in the conference. The Mavericks not only have two of the three tallest players in the league, they also have centers Maxi Kleber at 6-foot-10, and Willie Cauley-Stein at 7-feet. To go along with the size down low the Mavericks have a 6-foot-8 primary ball handler in Luka Doncic.

The Mavericks only have four players on their roster that shorter than the Rockets starting center P.J Tucker at 6-foot-5. This would be a great first round match-up for Dallas, because of the Mavericks size and ability to keep up with the Rockets three-point shooting.

Dallas Mavericks X-factor

Dorian Finney-Smith

Doe-Doe will be a real difference maker in this series. Finney-Smith being able to play the five with his three-point shooting opens up an already scary offense. Doe-Doe is shooting a career high 37% from three this season and would draw Tucker away from the basket opening up lanes for the rest of the offense to work. This also gives Head Coach Rick Carlisle On defense Dorian has shown that he is capable of playing quality minutes at the center position.

With a two-inch height advantage over Tucker, Dorian Finney-Smith could be a key to the Dallas Mavericks advancing to the second round.

Prediction: Mavericks in 6

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