Dissecting the Remaining Schedule for the Mavericks
Dallas returns to action Friday, February 24th and will have 26 games to claim the final playoff spot. So, what kind of competition does the Mavericks’ schedule entail?
After having over a week off, Minnesota is the next stop on the Mavericks’ schedule. Dallas is 3 games behind Denver going into the home stretch of the season. Considering only Cuban and Matthews participated in All-Star Weekend, Dallas should be more than ready to go.
The Mavericks sit at 3 games behind Denver, and they aren’t the only ones. Sacramento is only 1.5 games back from Denver. Portland is 2 games back. New Orleans is 2.5 games back. And, the Timberwolves are 3.5 games back. That being said, Dallas will have 5 meetings between those 5 teams, including two games against the Pelicans.
Obviously, the games against Minnesota, New Orleans, Sacramento, and Denver will be huge. But, are there any other games that could have an impact on the Mavericks season? Whether it be a very winnable game or a stunning victory, what are some possible “swing games” in the last two months of the season? Let’s take a look:
The Mavericks play 26 games from now until the end of the season, and the way the Mavericks’ schedule is constructed could benefit or hurt the Mavs.
Dallas starts off their return from the break with an away game, two home games, and an away game. Then, the Mavericks go on a 5 game homestand, followed by a 4 game road trip. When they get back from that, they will try to protect the AAC for another 4 games before they leave Dallas for 5 games.
Depending on how well they can defend their home court and deal with away crowds, we could be looking at a fantastic finish or an ugly ending. Another thing to mention, 13 games will be against teams above .500 and 13 games will be against teams below .500. Now, let’s break down those crucial 26 games.
The Mavericks only have 3 games left in the month of February and all 3 are against teams below .500. The Maverick’s travel to Minnesota on Friday to play the Timberwolves, who currently sit half a game behind Dallas. Then, the Mavericks come home to host the Pelicans, another team hunting for the 8th playoff spot. New Orleans currently sit half a game ahead of Dallas, but recently pulled off a blockbuster trade to land DeMarcus Cousins. Given those two games, the Mavericks have a chance to make a few jumps in the standings before they end their February with a home game against a hot Miami squad.
After they head up to Atlanta on March 1st, the flip-flop between homestands and road trips begins. Dallas will host Memphis, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles (Lakers), Brooklyn, and Pheonix between March 3rd and March 11th. Playing only one Eastern Conference team, the Mavericks have yet another opportunity to get closer to Denver.
Following that homestand, Dallas heads to Toronto to start a 4 game road trip with the Raptors. The Mavericks will also make stops in Washington, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn on their Eastern Conference campaign. Then, the Mavericks will head home for what will be the toughest part of the home stretch. Dallas hosts Golden State on March 21st, followed by the Clippers, Raptors, and Thunder. All four of the teams that Dallas plays in this homestand currently sit in the top 4 of their respective conferences.
Finally, the Mavericks have 2 out of 5 straight road games to finish up the month with trips to New Orleans and Memphis. When all is said and done, March will end up being the month that decided the Mavericks’ fate. With 16 of the 26 games in March, we better hope the Mavericks can bring us some madness of their own.
Finishing their road trip, Dallas will travel to Milwaukee, Sacramento, and Los Angeles (Clippers) before preparing for the final four games of the season. The first of those games will be a home game against the hated San Antonio Spurs where, hopefully, Pop decides to rest some players. Then, Dallas will head for Pheonix for one last game against a very beatable Suns’ team. Finally, Dallas has their home finale against Denver before heading up to Memphis for their season finale.
The Realistic View
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Looking at this Mavericks’ schedule, I would say the Mavericks have a solid chance to make the playoffs. Now, I am not sure that is exactly what we want considering we will get Golden State in the first round, but maybe we can at least end on a high note. Also, Mavs’ fans should have no problem with Carlisle playing younger guys and experimenting with the lineup. A championship this year went out of all our mines around November, so why not look towards the future of this franchise.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Mavericks have a 6% chance to make the playoffs this year. Also, the website has predicted the Mavericks will finish at 34-48, meaning we would go 12-14 to finish off the season. Honestly, that sounds about right. But, don’t be surprised if the Mavericks beat those odds and finish the season with 40 wins and give us a glimpse of a promising future.
Dallas has had a rough season, but there are definitely some positives moving forward. Make sure to watch the games and check The Smoking Cuban for post-game recaps.
Next: A Look at Our Competition for a Lottery Spot
Here is the Mavericks’ schedule for the remainder of the season:
2/24 @ Minnesota
2/25 vs New Orleans
2/27 vs Miami
3/1 @ Atlanta
3/3 vs Memphis
3/5 vs Oklahoma City
3/7 vs Los Angeles Lakers
3/10 vs Brooklyn
3/11 vs Pheonix
3/13 @ Toronto
3/15 @ Washington
3/17 @ Philadelphia
3/19 @ Brooklyn
3/21 vs Golden State
3/23 vs Los Angeles
3/25 vs Toronto
3/27 vs Oklahoma City
3/29 @ New Orleans
3/31 @ Memphis
4/2 @ Milwaukee
4/4 @ Sacramento
4/5 @ Los Angeles Clippers
4/7 vs San Antonio
4/9 @ Pheonix
4/11 vs Denver
4/12 @ Memphis