After Friday nights 97 to 91 win in Dallas, San Antonio Spurs fans have the common ideology that their team may have seen the last of the Dallas Mavericks. The Spurs currently possess a league leading 56-13 record and have a 6.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers for first place in the West.
The Mavericks (49-21) trail the Lakers by one game in the standings and hold a 3.5 game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks are currently third in the West.
From this Spurs ideology, you’d presume that the Mavericks would hold onto the third seed and most likely lose to the Lakers in the second round. Hence, a Spurs-Mavericks playoff series likely wouldn't happen unless both teams make it to the Western Conference Finals.
But, what if the Mavericks fall to the four seed? Then a possible second round matchup is possible.
An Ode To Wade Phillips
(I named the heading that because Phillips’ Dallas Cowboys teams were known to fall apart toward the end of the season. The Mavericks are currently falling into that position.)
Post all-star break, the Mavericks are 9-5. As ESPN's Jeff Caplan wrote:
“The Mavs couldn't rely on the Spurs to make mistakes and poor decisions in aiding a comeback win.”
Caplan wrote this regarding Dallas’ main issue at the moment, which is starting the game strong. According to Caplan, lately the Mavericks have been struggling in the first quarter of their games. The Mavericks have to play catch-up and it usually works against bad teams like the Warriors but not good teams like the Spurs.
Dallas has 12 games remaining on their schedule. Eight of the teams they will play have a record of .500 or better. Of their five losses post all-star break, all five losses have been to current playoff teams. The Mavericks still have to play the Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Hornets.
If the Mavericks were to lose some of those games, plus one or two to the other plus .500 teams, this would open the door for the Oklahoma City Thunder to grab the three seed. The Thunder have an easier road as they only play seven plus .500 teams and have six under average opponents remaining.
While the Mavericks concentrate on acclimating guard Rodrique Beaubois into their system, they must also try to work forwards Corey Brewer and Peja Stojakovic into the lineup. The Thunder are also in an assembly line reformation as they insert centers Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed into their rotations and allow them to brew some chemistry with the team.
It’s unlikely the Mavericks will slip to the four seed but with the schedule they still have, if they don’t solve their issues, those young guys from Oklahoma have a chance to grab the three seed.
Possible Round 3 In The Ring