The Mavericks currently sit 11th in the Western Conference with their 19-25 record, just 4.5 games out of the 8th playoff spot.
Dallas begins a four game road trip that will see them face three teams currently ahead of them in the standings, including the 9th seeded Trailblazers, the 5th seeded Golden State Warriors (Jan.31), the 15th seeded Phoenix Suns (Feb. 1) and the 2nd seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (Feb. 4).
The Mavericks destiny lies in their hands as a recovering Dirk Nowitzki has no intentions of throwing in the towel this early in the year. An encouraging note for Dallas to begin the road trip is they’ve already beaten the Trailblazers earlier in the year without Nowitzki in the line-up. The Mavericks won 114-91 on home court on Nov. 5 led by 32 points from O.J. Mayo.
The game against Portland is almost twice as important compared to the other three games mentioned. Dallas will host the Trailblazers in their first game back after the road trip on Feb. 6. If the Mavericks can steal a road victory and return home to hold court against Portland twice in two weeks, it’ll go a long way in bringing Dallas back into the playoff picture.
Unfortunately, the two other teams ahead of Dallas in the standings it will see on the road schedule, have already beaten the Mavericks this season. They lost 105-101 at home on Nov. 19 to the Warriors and they’ve also already lost twice to the Thunder this season. Encouragingly, Dallas has managed to beat Phoenix twice, but if it wants to be a playoff team it will need to make it three times.
This is a major road trip for Dallas, a 3-1 record could put it right on the cusp of the 8th seed in the Western standings. At the same time, a 1-3 record could also be what the Mavericks look back on at the end of the year and realized opportunity was lost.