Mavs Fans For Life

Shooting for 3

As we enter the last week of the NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks sit in a very interesting position. They currently sit a game out of the 3 seed in the Western Conference behind the Golden State Warriors and two games ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the 5 seed. Were the season to end today, the Mavericks would face the Nuggets in a matchup against MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. Here are the remaining schedules for the teams seeded 3-6 in the Western Conference:

Golden State Warriors (3rd) – vs. Lakers, at Spurs, at Pelicans (back to back).

Dallas Mavericks (4th) – at Pistons, vs. Trail Blazers, vs. Spurs.

Denver Nuggets (5th) – vs. Spurs, vs. Grizzlies, vs. Lakers.

Utah Jazz (6th) – vs. Grizzlies, vs. Thunder (back to back), vs. Suns, at Trail Blazers

Some interesting tidbits are shown within the remaining schedules. At first glance, it seems the Warriors have the toughest remaining schedule as they close out the season against three teams (the Spurs, Pelicans and Lakers) fighting to get into the Play-In Tournament. The Warriors are still without Steph Curry, but Klay Thompson and Draymond Green did return to the lineup earlier against the Suns. Golden State also clinched a playoff spot after a come from behind win against the Jazz. Utah has the misfortune of having to face the top two seeds in the Western Conference to close out the year, but a situation may arise where Phoenix rests their players in the second to last game of the season. Denver also faces a Spurs team trying to solidify a playoff spot, as does Dallas.  

The Mavericks essentially could be seeded anywhere from the 3rd seed to the 6th seed based on the outcomes of the rest of the season. While unlikely, a scenario remains where the Mavericks lose their remaining three while the other teams move up in the standings. A more likely scenario, however, is that Dallasgains in the 3 seed based on strength of schedule and tie breakers. Dallas essentially needs to win out the rest of the year and hope for a Warriors loss in their final three games. With this scenario, Dallas would likely face off against a reeling Utah Jazz team that is 4-6 in their last 10 games and has blown multiple leads leading to some of their losses.

By staying in the four seed, the Mavericks would face off against a Nuggets team that potentially could return Jamaal Murray and Michael Porter, Jr. in the playoffs. Also, the Nuggets matchup better against the Mavericks, with long guards and forwards that do a good job of closing out on shooters. Denver also has MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, a tough matchup for any big man in the NBA. Assuming the Mavericks would advance past the Nuggets, a looming second round matchup against the Suns would be a tough pill to swallow. Dallas has yet to beat a Phoenix team that just returned Chris Paul to the starting lineup.

The ideal scenario would be for the Mavericks to close out the season with three straight wins and hope the Warriors fall to one of their opponents. Not only would they retain home court advantage, but likely would face a Utah Jazz team that is struggling at the wrong time. Utah’s reliance on small guards plays into Dallas’ favor, and Luka’s ability to draw Gobert out of the paint opens the lane for more cuts to the basket and easy looks for the rest of the team. Also, the Mavericks would be able to avoid facing the Suns until the Western Conference Finals (assuming they win their second-round matchup against the Grizzlies or Timberwolves). The schedule is in the Mavericks’ favor, and all Dallas fans should collectively hope for the Warriors to fall in this last week of the season.

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