The Dallas Mavericks traveled to Oregon to take on the Portland Trail Blazers in what could have been a possible preview of the 2014 NBA Playoffs in the West. While the Trail Blazers are atop the Western Conference standings at 17-3, the Mavericks are in the thick of the playoff race at 12-8. A win for Dallas would give them early control of the sixth seed.
With Portland playing its second game in as many nights, Dallas had a legitimate shot to win their third game in a row. It was a close game throughout as both teams traded the lead, and a late 3-pointer from Damien Lillard tied the game at 106 with only second remaining. It looked like there would be a second overtime game in the association Saturday night, but Monta Ellis had different ideas as he nailed a 21-footer at the buzzer to give Dallas the victory 108-106.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds, but Ellis was the hero of the night. After a dismal 2012-13 season, Dallas seems prepared to make a run at the playoffs as they currently sit sixth in a competitive Western Conference. It looks like they can sneak into the postseason somewhere between the eighth and fifth seeds, but it is also very possible that they can miss the playoffs.
It was an impressive win over the Trail Blazers, but do not forget the Blazers were coming off a game compared to the Mavericks, who had a couple days of rest. Still, Dallas defeated a surprisingly strong Portland team and could face off against them in the postseason.
If Dallas truly wants to make the playoffs, they will need for help from their supporting cast. Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Nowitzki are getting up there in age, and depth is a big question for this Mavs squad. Don’t be surprised if you see Dallas make some moves as the trade rumors begin to heat up. The West is tough this year and teams will need a supporting cast to be successful and make the playoffs.