Despite giving up a 30-point first-half lead, the Dallas Mavericks were able to finish the game on a high note and defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 103-98. Samuel Dalembert’s clutch defensive efforts were vital for the Mavericks’ 11-0 run during the final minutes of regulation.
This was a crucial win for Dallas. They are currently hanging onto the eighth seed with a 37-26 record while the Memphis Grizzlies are just behind with a 35-26 record. The remaining schedule for both teams is fairly difficult. Memphis will face 11 teams that are currently in the playoff picture, while Dallas will face 10 teams that are in playoff contention. The last playoff seed in the West may be decided during the final game of the season when these two teams face each other at the FedExForum on April 16.
If the Mavericks find their way into the postseason, it’s a far cry too see them eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder or San Antonio Spurs in the first round. However, Dallas has been able to compete with the third-seeded Houston Rockets. The two teams have split the series this season with the winner of each game scoring more than 110 points. This may shape up to be a high-octane-themed series, where each team will rely on fast breaks, steals and assists.
Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis have proven to be reputable players throughout the season. On the other hand, Devin Harris‘ minutes will be important for the Mavericks to make a push during the playoffs. He is the team’s most proficient distributor this season, averaging 4.4 assists in 18.7 minutes off the bench. Harris ranks eighth for the most assists per 36 minutes. His presence could be the deciding factor in the potential playoff meeting against the Rockets.
The Mavericks has a lot of depth and variety compared to most teams in the league. They have a great combination of experience, speed and composure. They have the pieces necessary to make a run into the postseason, but they will need to be more consistent with their wins in the final two months of the season.