With four games left in the season, the Dallas Mavericks’ playoff position still remains up in the air, but with just four games left to play, the post-season picture will become more clear in the coming days.
The defending NBA champions didn’t quite have the follow-up season they would likely have hoped, but there is still a good chance for them to grab the 6th, 7th, or 8th seed in the Western Conference; unfortunately, there is also a chance that they could find themselves sitting at home watching the playoffs.
As it stands today, the following Western Conference teams are all jockeying for playoff position (their current playoff seeds are listed in parenthesis as well as their current records):
Memphis Grizzlies (5th, 36-25)
Denver Nuggets (6th, 34-27)
Dallas Mavericks (7th, 34-28)
Phoenix Suns (8th, 32-29)
Houston Rockets (32-29)
Utah Jazz (32-30)
With the Mavericks losing their last two games on the road, one in overtime to a Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers and the other in triple-overtime to the Utah Jazz, the next four games are crucial for Dallas’ post-season hopes.
Up next, Wednesday night, the Mavs take on the Houston Rockets. Houston, having lost their last four games in a row, will arrive in Dallas a desperate team holding on for dear life. Currently sitting just outside of the playoff picture, the Rockets’ post-season hopes are still alive, but another loss could end that. If the Rockets win, however, they would pull even with the Mavs in the loss column.
On Friday, the Mavericks will play their last regular season home game of the season, hosting the Golden State Warriors (22-38). On paper, this should be a win, but we all no that there are no guarantees when it comes to sports.
Dallas’ last two games will be on the road, heading first to Chicago to take on the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls, who hold an NBA-best record of 46-15.
After four days’ rest, the Mavericks will face the Atlanta Hawks (36-25) on the road in their final regular season game.
So, as close as the race currently is in the Western Conference, the battle for the No. 8 spot will come down to the wire. We may not know who holds the No. 6, 7, and 8 seeds until the very end.
After their magical run last season, it’s surprising that they currently find themselves in this position, but if the Mavericks hope to make the post-season, they have to finish strong; every game is a must win.