Mavericks' road to NBA Finals just became exponentially easier

Detroit Pistons v Dallas Mavericks
Detroit Pistons v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks have wrapped up regular season action after clinching the Southwest Division title and reaching the 50-win mark, both of which are feats that seemed unattainable for the Mavericks just a few weeks ago before they finished the regular season by going 16-4 in their last 20 games.

As we all know at this point, the Mavericks will be facing off against the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs for third time in the Luka Doncic era. The Clippers are a savvy veteran squad with an effective blend of athleticism and length on the wing, but they certainly haven't been playing as well as Dallas has to close the regular season, and there's some skepticism as to whether or not Kawhi Leonard will be healthy by the first game in this series.

All that being said, the Clippers don't profile to be near as menacing of a squad as the Mavericks faced a few years ago, especially when you take into consideration that the Mavericks took the Clippers to seven games in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs with a far worse roster than Dallas has now.

Mavericks' road to NBA Finals became easier with Thunder grabbing No. 1 seed

Dallas' matchup versus the Clippers isn't the only thing that got easier for the Mavericks, as the Mavericks got some extremely fortunate luck a few days ago before the regular season ended. While all signs pointed toward the Denver Nuggets being the first seed in the Western Conference about a week ago, a 20-60 San Antonio Spurs team beat the Nuggets last Friday night on a game-winning layup by Devonte' Graham.

This propelled the Oklahoma City Thunder to leap the Nuggets in the standings, as the Thunder finished with the first seed in the West after they blew out the Mavericks in their regular season finale. With Dallas being the fifth seed, they will play the winner of the 1-8 matchup in the Western Conference if they make it to the second round.

This means the Mavericks will likely play the Thunder if they make it to the second round, something that will be crucial toward Dallas potentially making a deep run in the playoffs when you take into consideration that they match up with the Thunder a lot better than compared to Denver.

The Mavericks aren't looking to avoid anyone in the playoffs, but they should feel lucky that this opportunity fell into their lap, as the incumbent NBA Champion Nuggets and Nikola Jokic have looked unstoppable at certain points of the playoffs during the last few years.

Dallas' overall road to the NBA Finals has gotten much easier when one considers that Dallas can't play Denver until the third round, but that doesn't mean that the Mavericks can underestimate anyone in front of them, as no matchup is a walk in the park during the playoffs.

Dallas kicks off playoff action on Sunday against the Clippers, so stay tuned to us for a wide-array of coverage on the series.