With only four games remaining, it’s all coming down to the wire for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks enter the home stretch confident as they have won three consecutive games on their current West Coast swing. The Mavericks most impressive win of their current road trip came at Los Angeles against the Clippers on April 3. Despite leading in the fourth quarter in each of their previous three matchups, Dallas had yet to beat the Clippers this season.
The Mavericks started strong and built up enough of a lead to fend off the Clippers late, winning by a score of 113-107. Dallas then carried that momentum into road victories against the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.
Dallas is continuing to play with the urgency required to secure a playoff berth in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns refuse to relent, and the Mavericks have no choice but to treat each game as a must-win proposition.
As the week of April 7 begins, the Mavericks find themselves with a record of 47-31. The Phoenix Suns are sitting at 46-31 and the Memphis Grizzlies are 45-32. Despite a disappointing homestand that saw the Mavericks lose four of eight games, they are back in a position to control their own playoff destiny.
The onus is on the entire team and coaching staff to muster the energy and fight necessary to secure a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The Mavericks play three games this week, starting with Utah on Tuesday.
Tuesday, April 8 at Utah Jazz
The Mavericks should be happy to see a matchup with the Jazz on their schedule, even if it is in Salt Lake City. Dallas has won all three previous matchups against the rebuilding Jazz and this game should be no different.
Utah has won only two of its last 13 games and those wins came against the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Pelicans. Despite their struggles, the frontcourt duo of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter could make life difficult in the paint for the visiting Mavericks.
The temptation will be there to look past the Jazz with two challenging home games coming up against the Suns and Spurs. Despite what lies ahead, Dallas cannot afford any slip ups during this crucial stretch.
Thursday, April 10 vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are not a team that anyone wants to see on their schedule right now, especially teams that need each win possible to secure a playoff berth. The Spurs have won 22 of 24 games and they will be favorites in Dallas once again.
There is a possibility that the Spurs may sit one or two of their veterans down the stretch but the Spurs are playing at such a high level it may not matter. The Spurs have tilted what was once a back-and-forth rivalry. San Antonio has won all three matchups in 2013-14 and they have won eight consecutive games against Dallas.
Saturday, April 12 vs. Phoenix Suns
The stakes will likely be high when the Mavericks meet the Suns on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center. The Suns and Mavericks have been separated by no more than two games for over a month as both teams continue to fight for two of the remaining three playoff spots in Western Conference.
The Suns and Mavs have split their previous matchups this season, with both games taking place at the US Airways center. This time the Mavericks will look to use home court to their advantage in this critical matchup. Dallas has another advantage in this pivotal game as the Suns must play on the road against the Spurs on the previous night. The Mavericks will have a day off before hitting the court against the determined Suns.
The Suns are led by guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe missed the Suns 110-107 loss to the Mavericks on Jan. 17 and he will be another scoring option the Mavericks must find a way to defend. With so much on the line, fans should be treated to an incredibly exciting game when these two teams take the court.