At times it gets redundant to say, but here it goes again: “The Dallas Mavericks are facing another must-win game against the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.” Currently the team is sitting 2.5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Between the Lakers and Dallas, however, sits the Jazz.
Utah has a one game lead on the Mavericks coming into the game. The two teams are going in opposite directions, though. In the last 10 games the Jazz are 2 – 8 while the Mavericks are 7 – 3 during the same stretch. The Mavericks should try to take full advantage of Utah’s poor play as well as the fact that Utah has a dismal road record this year. Utah has a 10 – 26 record when playing away from Salt Lake City.
Of course none of these stats matter once the ball is in play. All that matters then is what team is willing to make the necessary plays down the stretch to win the game. Dallas has had a tendency lately to jump off to a fast start in the first quarter. In the last three games they have played, the Mavericks have outscored their opponents by 28 points.
In the midst of a six game homestand, it’s important for Dallas to win these home games down the stretch. So far they are 1 -1 on the homestand and it doesn’t get any easier after tonight with the Los Angeles Clippers coming to town Tuesday night. First things first, though. Dallas must take care of Utah tonight at home. Lose tonight’s game and you might as well kiss the postseason goodbye.