By: Brandon LaChance
The Dallas Mavericks are currently tied for the second seed in the Western Conference, but they could fall to the four seed if they don’t defeat the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday.
Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers have 56-25 records and the Oklahoma City Thunder are a game behind with a 55-26 record. All three teams play tonight as the Lakers play the Sacramento Kings and the Thunder face the Milwaukee Bucks.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, they are the only team playing another playoff team. The Hornets are the seven seed in the west while the Kings and the Bucks failed to make the post season because of youth and injuries.
If the Mavs can find a way to beat the David West-less Hornets, they could become the sole owner of the two seed if the Lakers lose. If the Lakers win, Dallas doesn’t have a chance for the two seed because Lakers own the series match up.
Oklahoma can steal the third seed from Dallas, if the Mavericks lose and the Thunder win because they own the series match up as well.
Basically, the Lakers and the Thunder have favorable match ups and beat the Mavericks throughout the season. The only way for the Mavericks to look at the playoffs with a smile is to get a win. They can’t make the Lakers lose, but they have to win or it’s game over.
Who Dallas would face:
Two seed-Hornets or the Memphis Grizzlies, they’re tied at 46-35. Grizzlies play the Los Angeles Clippers.
Three seed- Portland Trail Blazers
Four seed- Denver Nuggets
The Mavericks will have a tough time defeating the hot Trail Blazers and the Nuggets. Honestly, if they face either of these teams, I’m picking the Blazers or the Nuggets, not Dallas.
Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge will dominate the Mavericks big men inside, Gerald Wallace, Andre Miller, Nicolas Batum and Rudy Fernandez will run all over them. Plus, the Mavs defense is weak as ever, which makes it easier for the Blazers to hit threes. The Nuggets would beat them the same way. Also, the Nuggets have bigger bodies who play more physical ball such as Kenyon Marin, Wilson Chandler, Nene and Timofey Mozgov.
The only way I think the Mavericks have a chance of advancing past the first round is if they play either the Hornets or the Grizzlies. The Hornets are missing their second best player, West, and the Grizzlies are missing their best player, Rudy Gay. The Hornets have great perimeter play with Chris Paul, but weak inside play while the Grizzlies have great inside play with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph and weak perimeter play.
Dallas is average at both, which makes me think its balance would win games.
After it’s all said and done, the Mavericks have one choice tonight…WIN.