Mar 21, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) waits for play to resume against the Denver Nuggets during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Ellis leads his team with 26 points. The Mavericks defeated the Nuggets 122-106. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Mavericks: Road Trip Could Determine Fate

The Dallas Mavericks enter the week doing everything they can just to stay in the Western Conference playoff race. Things remain tight out west, with the Grizzlies, Suns and Mavericks separated by only one game with only two weeks of basketball left.

Dallas is 4-3 on their eight-game homestand with two of their three losses coming in overtime. If the Mavericks fail to secure a playoff berth, they will look back on this homestand as a reason why.

Dallas could be 7-0 heading into their matchup with Golden State, as all three losses were games the Mavericks had opportunities to win. The Mavericks continue to hang with the best teams in the NBA but they are developing a bad habit of losing these games late.

The Mavericks are one of the older teams in the league and there are times it looks like their legs are failing them late in games. There are no breaks to be had this late in the season Dallas must begin finding an extra gear to pull out close games against quality opponents.

Dallas has four games on tap the week of March 31 and there is no room for error given the strong play of the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies.

Feb 26, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks point guard Jose Calderon (8) celebrates making a three point shot against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Pelicans 108-89. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday, April 1 vs. Golden State Warriors

The Mavericks will complete their franchise record, eight-game homestand with a daunting matchup against the Golden State Warriors on April 1. Golden State has taken two of three games against Dallas this season with the Mavericks only victory taking place at the American Airlines Center on Nov. 27.

In order to salvage their homestand, the Mavericks must find a way to defeat the Warriors at home. Stopping dynamic young guard Stephen Curry is typically the key to limiting what Golden State can do offensively, but the Warriors put up 108 points on the Mavericks in their 108-85 home win on March 11 and Curry had only 10 points. The Warriors are a slightly less effective on the road and the Mavericks must protect home court in this critical home game.

Mar 27, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Brandan Wright (34) guards Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Clippers won 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday, April 3 at Los Angeles Clippers

Dallas will hit the road and kick off a four-game road trip that starts with a visit to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. The Mavericks are 0-3 against the Clippers this season but each game has come down to the wire. Dallas actually led by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter in both of their recent losses against the Clippers.

The Mavericks may once again find themselves in a physical matchup that comes down to the wire. Late-game execution will be paramount if Dallas wants to change their fourth quarter luck against the Clippers.

Friday, April 4 at Los Angeles Lakers

Dallas will remain in Los Angeles to face the Lakers one night after their matchup with the Clippers. The Lakers may be awful this season, but their 115-99 home victory on March 30 over the Phoenix Suns demonstrates what can happen when teams take them lightly. The Lakers most explosive players are guards Jodie Meeks and Kendall Marshall. This duo is a big reason the Lakers upset the Suns, combining for 35 points and 13 assists in the Lakers surprising home win.

Playing the second night of a back-to-back on the road is never easy, but the Mavericks have a playoff berth at stake and this is a team they should handle on the road.

Jan 4, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) holds onto a rebound against the Charlotte Bobcats in the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, April 6 at Sacramento Kings

Dallas will close out the week with a Sunday matchup at Sacramento vs. the Kings. This will be the fourth time the two teams have faced off, with Dallas winning two of three matchups. The Kings may be having another disappointing season but they have played the Mavs close in all three previous matchups.

The Mavericks lost in Sacramento by a score of 112-97 on Dec. 9 and the Mavericks needed a fourth quarter comeback to top the Kings 103-100 on March 29 in Dallas. The Kings frontcourt is physical and athletic and they will once again pose a problem for Samuel Dalembert and Dirk Nowitzki.


Tags: Dallas Mavericks

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