Dallas Mavericks: Why They Will Beat Lakers And Take No. 8 Playoff Seed


There will be no post-season heroics from Kobe Bryant this year. Photo Credit: (Flickr.com)

For weeks it was seen as a race between the Houston Rockets, the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers for the seventh and eighth seeds in the Western Conference. This was before Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the Dallas Mavericks decided to wake up and make a push. Now they sit just 1.5 games back of the Lakers with the two teams meeting at the Staples Center on Tuesday, April 2.

Here’s why they will finish above the Lakers and will be in the playoffs.

Rick Carlisle

In my opinion, coaching is the most underrated thing in the NBA. Good coaches turn average teams into good ones and good ones into great ones. Rick Carlisle is an inventive and bright coach that has a long future in the NBA. He also has the championship experience and is a better all-around coach than Mike D’Antoni. With Carlisle at the helm, there’s no way the Mavs can miss the playoffs, surely?

Dirk Nowitzki will be out to prove he is the best power forward of all time. Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com

Dirk Nowitzki

Arguably the greatest international player to play in the National Basketball Association, Dirk Nowitzki has had a troublesome 2012-13 season, plagued with injury. With that seemingly behind him, the German forward looks set to lead his side back into the playoff seeds. His high-release fadeaway is virtually unblockable, and when it comes down to the last few minutes, there is very few players in the NBA I would trust more to hit a clutch shot.

The Supporting Cast

Mark Cuban has been trying to save on salary in order to pursue superstar players in free agency this summer. In this process, he signed a lot of players on one-year deals. Players like O.J Mayo and Elton Brand are set to be free agents this summer. They will be striving to show their worth and will be going all out in order to get a big paycheck this offseason. The Lakers do not have this luxury; Pau Gasol is due more than $19 million next year — there is no real desire for him to play hard. This is yet another reason why I can see the Mavs edging the Lakers.

The Pressure Will Weigh Too Heavily On The Lakers

It has been the biggest soap opera of the season (the L.A. Lakers) and expect it to continue. As the season comes to a close, the pressure on Kobe Bryant and Co. will continue to increase and build up. Players like Jodie Meeks and Earl Clark are not used to this kind of pressure, while players like Gasol are not 100 percent healthy.

Metta World Peace is still a premier defender. Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels, Flickr.com

Metta World Peace Is A Huge Loss

Metta World Peace has been ruled out for up to five weeks. The reaction has not been as great as it should be. World Peace, despite his age, is still the Lakers best chance of guarding elite wing players like Kevin Durant. Sure, he doesn’t offer a lot on offense and takes a few poor shots, but his wily nature and veteran experience could have proved vital. Without him, I doubt the Lakers can retain their space in the playoffs.