With a franchise record eight-game home stand coming from March 17-April 1 for the Dallas Mavericks, the outcome will truly define where the Mavericks place is in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Mavericks, 21-10 at the American Airlines Center, are on pace for their best home record since the 2010-11 Championship season, when they finished 29-12. Dallas finished 24-17 and 23-10 in the past two seasons.
Dallas, four games out of the 5th seed, could very well be in that spot or at least the 6th seed when it’s all said and done. The Mavericks need to win at least their first four at home and five overall, but in total, the Mavericks are just 4-12 against all eight teams during the course of the season.
The Mavericks, though, have won their last two home games and they weren’t no gimmes.
Dallas defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 103-98 on March 7 and the Indiana Pacers 105-94 on March 9. The Mavericks had double-digit leads in the second quarter of both games before trailing in the second half and completing the comeback.
Dallas was up 30 against the Blazers before trailing by seven in the fourth, winning after scoring the final 11 points.
The Mavericks were up 18 against the Pacers before trailing by five in the third and ran away with it in the fourth.
Here’s a look at all eight opponents. Their records are based on the time of the story’s publication…
Boston Celtics (March 17)- The Mavs won their only meeting this season with the rebuilding Celtics, 102-91 on Feb. 9 at TD Garden. The win was Dallas’ fifth straight as Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 20 points while Shawn Marion added 11 points and 10 boards. Boston is tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA at 22-45 and have lost four straight. The Celtics are 8-24 on the road, 4-25 vs the West, and have lost all nine games vs Southwest teams. Rajon Rondo should be unavailable vs the Mavs.
Minnesota Timberwolves (March 19)- Dallas should be 0-3 against Minnesota this season, but got away with a 100-98 victory at the Target Center on Dec. 30. The T’Wolves had the final possession and it appeared that Kevin Love was fouled on a potential 3-point shot by Marion, but no foul was called. The NBA released a statement the next day saying that the officials made a mistake and a call should’ve been made. The Mavericks lost 112-106 in Dallas on Nov. 30 and 116-108 in Minnesota on Nov. 8. Nowitzki is averaging 17.7 points vs Minnesota this season on 53.7 percent shooting, but is just shooting 22.2 percent from behind the arc. The T’Wolves, at 33-32, would be in the 7th spot in the East, but instead has to settle for 10th in the West, 5.5 games out of the playoff picture. Minnesota is 14-19 on the road, 18-22 vs the West, and 5-7 vs Southwest teams.
Denver Nuggets (March 21)- The Denver Nuggets, nearly 11 games back of the Mavs, have won 29 games, three of which against Dallas and will look for the season sweep. This may be the surprise game to watch as Denver really has had Dallas’ number all season long. The Mavericks have lost by two, five and 14 points to the Nuggets. Dirk is averaging 24 points and 7.3 rebounds on 51 percent shooting, but again, as the case with the T’Wolves, Dirk is shooting just 20 percent from three. Denver is 13-20 away from the Pepsi Center, 15-23 vs the West, and 5-5 vs Southwest teams.
Brooklyn Nets (March 23)- In their lone meeting, Mirza Teletovic scored a career-high 34 points off the bench as the Nets hung on for a 107-106 victory at the Barclays Center on Jan. 24. It was Jason Kidd’s first win as a coach against his former team. Vince Carter led five players in double figures with 19. Dirk scored 18 on 5-of-15 shooting. The Nets, 33-31, sit in the 5th spot in the East. Brooklyn is 13-20 on the road, 14-11 vs the West, and 5-2 vs Southwest teams.
Oklahoma City Thunder (March 25)- The Thunder and Mavericks meet one final time this season. The Thunder defeated the Mavs 107-93 in OKC on Nov. 6. Dallas came right back and pounded the Thunder in OKC 109-86 on March 16. Five players scored in double figures in the Mavs’ win, but it was without Russell Westbrook. Nowitzki is averaging 16.5 points and five boards vs the Thunder this season. He’s shooting 46 percent from the field and 57 percent from downtown. OKC is two games out of the top spot in the West at 48-18. The Thunder are 20-11 on the road, 29-12 vs the West, and 11-2 vs Southwest teams.
Los Angeles Clippers (March 27)- The Mavericks and Clippers will meet for the third time this season, with one coming in LA immediately after Dallas’ home stand. The Clippers are 2-0 against Dallas this season, but the Mavericks should’ve won both times. Dallas had a 110-103 lead on Jan. 3 before the Clippers finished the final 3:50 on a 16-2 run. Dallas had a 17-point lead with 4:35 remaining before the Clippers came back to win 129-127 on Jan. 15. Nowitzki is averaging 25.5 points and six rebounds on 46.2 percent shooting. Dirk is shooting 63.6 percent from three, his fourth-highest mark against any team this year and making a high of 3.5 3-pointers a game vs the Clips. LA has won 10 straight, and is 19-15 on the road, 29-11 vs the West, and 10-4 vs Southwest teams.
Sacramento Kings (March 29)- Dallas won 107-103 back on Jan. 31, but fell 112-97 on Dec. 9. Nowitzki is averaging 26 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 dimes vs Sacramento this season. He’s shooting 53 percent from the field. The Kings have the third-worst record in the West at 23-44 and have lost seven of their last 10. Sacramento is 10-25 on the road, 12-28 vs the West, and 5-9 vs Southwest teams.
Golden State Warriors (April 1)- Dallas suffered a disappointing 108-85 road loss to the hands of the Warriors on March 11. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two, and no doubt, at the start of April, will be the most important. If the Mavericks can pull off the win, they’ll tie the season series and if the two finish with the same record, it’ll likely come down to conference and division records as the tiebreaker. Nowitzki is averaging 18.3 points and 6.3 boards on 50 percent shooting. Golden State is 20-15 away from ORACLE Arena, 23-17 vs the West, and 7-7 vs Southwest teams.
WEST STANDINGS (At the end of Mavs-Thunder on March 16)
1 Spurs (50-16)
2 Thunder (48-18)– 2
3 Clippers (47-20)– 3.5…Game vs Cleveland in progress
4 Rockets (44-22)– 6
5 Blazers (43-23)– 7 Game vs Warriors in progress
6 Warriors (41-26)– 9.5 Game vs Blazers in progress
7 Mavericks (40-27)– 10.5
8 Grizzlies (39-27)– 11
9 Suns (38-28)– 12
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