5 Most crucial games left for the Dallas Mavericks this season

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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The Dallas Mavericks opened up the post All-Star break portion of the regular season by getting arguably their most important win of the season versus the Phoenix Suns. Dallas' victory last Thursday night gave the Mavericks the tiebreaker in any scenario where Dallas and Phoenix have the same record in the standings going forward, as the Mavericks won the season series with Phoenix 2-1.

The Mavericks are currently the eighth seed in the Western Conference, but Dallas seems like a likely candidate to make it out of play-in territory given the strength of their remaining schedule. Strength of schedule isn't everything of course, but Dallas has the 11th easiest remaining schedule in the league.

5 Most crucial games left for the Dallas Mavericks this season

On the other hand, the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and Phoenix Suns are all inside the top 10 of hardest remaining schedules in the league this year. This is extremely noteworthy when you take into consideration that those teams, along with the Mavericks, are only separated by one game through seeds five to eight.

Dallas has put themselves in a position to make a legitimate run in the playoffs even if they can't assume home-court advantage in the first round. They still need to take care of business for the rest of the season, despite riding high on a seven-game win streak that was recently snapped versus Indiana, so here are the Mavericks' five most important games remaining in the season.

5. April 5 game against the Golden State Warriors

The Dallas Mavericks are currently 3.5 games ahead of the tenth seeded Golden State Warriors, but that shouldn't undermine the fact that this late season April contest between Dallas and Golden State could definitely have playoff seeding implications when you take into consideration that the Warriors are on a steep upward trajectory having won eight of their last 10 games.

The Warriors are finally finding stability within their lineup, as Draymond Green has returned from suspension and Klay Thompson has seen improvement after Warriors coach Steve Kerr decided to bring him off the bench. The Warriors' young core of Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Jonathan Kuminga have thrived on both sides of the ball recently, proving that Golden State still has a viable and deep rotation just like in previous seasons.

Stephen Curry is still playing at an MVP-caliber level despite being set to turn 36-years-old in March, so Dallas can't take this early-April matchup against Golden State lightly, especially since it could be a preview of a potential play-in game between the Mavericks and Warriors.

The Mavericks may have improved odds to make it out of the play-in, but by no means does that mean that there isn't the potential for them to find themselves in seventh or eighth seed come the close of the regular season. The Mavericks need to take care of this Warriors team when April 5 comes, as Dallas can't underestimate the Warriors' ability to go small as a means to remediate Dallas' bigs on defense.