DONUT 1: Is the chase for a top-tier seed dead? ...
MDug helps us with the math. And by the time you put down your No. 2 pencils, you'll see that the goals might need to be shifted slightly ...
The Mavs have 12 games left to finalize their place in the standings, and hopefully to lay claim to their spot in the playoffs. As it stands, the uninspired loss to the Clippers has made any chance at claiming homecourt in the first round feel distant at best.
The Clippers are 32-21 and hold the 4th seed. Dallas is currently slotted as the 6th seed at 30-24, only a half-game up on Denver (29-24). With the Clippers now holding the tiebreaker, Dallas must finish a game up on them in the standings to surpass them, meaning the Clippers would have to total four more losses than the Mavs from here on out.
We're measuring in losses due to the fact that the Clippers have 13 games remaining while Dallas only has 12. So, if Dallas goes 12-0 to close out the season, they need the Clippers to finish 9-4. If the Mavs go a more realistic 7-4, the Clippers would have to stumble to 5-8 to fall behind Dallas.
For now, we'll ignore the 3-seeded Lakers and think of them as being out of reach. Dallas forfeited the tie-breaker to the Clippers, but still have the means to take the them with every other team seeded from 5 to 10. Only the situation with Memphis remains undecided -- Dallas must win both matchups (this Wednesday and Saturday) to take the best-of-three series with the currently 5-seeded Grizzlies.
Thanks to their triumphs in the season series with Denver (7th), Houston (8th), Utah (9th) and Phoenix (10th), Dallas holds the tie-breakers with all of these teams ... meaning, they must finish a game ahead of the Mavs in the final standings to draw a higher seed or knock Dallas from the postseason.
With Jason Kidd out and Memphis proven to be a tough matchup in the recent past, it's getting easier to imagine a less than ideal first-round series (given how their games have gone this season for Dallas) of 3-seed Lakers vs. 6-seed Mavericks.
Championship team, championship pedigree, Banners Fly Forever and all that. But it certainly appears that if/when Dallas makes the playoffs, the fellas will be pushing a boulder uphill -- just as it's been all season long.
DONUT 2: Tornado Talk ...
Dirk Nowitzki tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, "Tornadoes left and right in Dallas today. They won't let us leave the gym. Be safe, everybody.''
And of course, the top reason no one was allowed to leave the AAC basement: It's one of the few basements in town, and a basement is the safest place to be in such a storm.
The punchline comes from buddy Drew Unga, like the rest of us still reeling from the 94-75 loss to the visiting Clippers, who says, "Yeah, this week the AAC is the safest place to be. Especially for Mavs opponents.''
DONUT 3: Tornadoes and Wieners...
Meanwhile, my man 'Fists of Curry' notes that the tornado wasn't all that badass, given that it hovered over the Ballpark in Arlington for quite some time and nevertheless could only finish half of that 26-dollar hotdog.
DONUT 4: Let's get to tonight's visit from the Grizzlies -- and some of the strategy...
The starting lineups, and NBA scouting info from Kyle Leath ...
|GRIZZLIES 30-22||MAVS 30-24|
|F- Rudy Gay||F- Shawn Marion|
|F- Marreese Speights||F- Dirk Nowitzki|
|C- Marc Gasol||C- Brendan Haywood|
|G- Tony Allen||G- Vince Carter|
|G- Mike Conley||G- Delonte West|
DONUT 5: A look at the Grizzlies Offense ...
• Big steal team which leads to some easy transition baskets.
• When not in transition after a steal, Grizzlies will run a lot of Flex look out of their half-court offense.
• Mid pick/roll series with PG and 4-man. Will post Gasol to counter pick/roll.
• Double low-post look, especially as part of the secondary break.
DONUT 6: A look at the Grizzlies Defense ...
• They play man with good help from bigs on drives.
• Will pick up full-court off dead balls and FTs.
• Good perimeter defense and guards do a good job of help and recovery on penetration.
• Will fight over ball screens when shooter has ball.
DONUT 7: West Race ...
The Race To The West Playoffs … updated daily to keep y'all posted on where the Mavs stand!
DONUT 8: In addition to watching the Mavs tonight ...
Follow the game on Twitter with the Mavs Twitterverse ... The 75-Member Staff!
DONUT 9: Let's hear it for the ladies! ...
a) Congratulations to the Baylor Bears.
b) Congratulations to the good people of Waco, who didn't celebrate by burning their cars.
c) The next person who suggests that Brittney Griner should be selected in the second round of this summer's NBA Draft will hereby turn in his press pass.
DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...
Try our Premium Mavs coverage! This is what we do, every day, with 28 years of experience on the beat! It's pennies a day to get All-Access to what the Mavs are doing upstairs, down in the basement, in the locker room and on the court – and it's free to come inside for a 7-day tryout. Now more than ever, there's no reason not to give it a go! Thanks for your support of the site at less than a dime-a-day! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 11: Scout Kyle Leath on How to Beat the Grizzlies:
• PROTECT – Must take care of the ball and not let them get out off turnovers.
• DEPTH– Which team can survive its injuries and be healthy? Conley is back and Randolph is back and Mayo was good off the bench last night. But this is Memphis' third game in three nights. Mavs need to utilize depth - but that gets eaten into with no Kidd.
• RYTHYM – Important to get all players into the flow on offense. Be patient, don't settle for shots, make shots.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
"Either we're going to get it right or we're not." - Shawn Marion.