Why no team wants to face the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs: 2. Both ends
The Mavs are an easy team to write off because they have climbed from 14th in the Western Conference on Feb. 1 to where they stand now. Injuries and COVID issues caused their slow start. People are quick to forget many were predicting Dallas to be a top-four team in the Western Conference at the start of the season. They have shown that potential when healthy.
Since Feb. 15, the Mavericks are eighth in the NBA in offensive rating and seventh in defensive rating. The only teams in the top 11 in both categories over that stretch are the Bucks, Jazz, Nuggets, Suns, and Mavs. Every NBA champion since 2005 has finished the regular season in the top 11 in both categories. The Mavericks do not meet that criterion, but they have since getting healthy.
Slow starts and playing down to their competition has perturbed Mavs fans of late, but the team has been elite on both ends of the floor over their last 37 games. Dallas is 24-13 over that stretch. They have a favorable schedule down the stretch that should only help them improve their stats. No team wants to battle against a squad that can get it done on both ends of the floor in the playoffs.
Next: No. 1