Mavs Lose In Atlanta; Time For Playoff Party!
Welcome to the end of Silly Season in the NBA. These final games of the regular season mean different things to different teams as some have much to play for, while others have little. Such was the case Thursday night as the Atlanta Hawks rolled 106-89 over a listless Dallas Mavericks squad.
''It'd be a stretch to say we're playing our best,'' Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says. "At this point, we have to move forward. We're going to have to flush this one - very quickly.''
Josh Smith scored 23 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds and dished out a game-high seven assists for Atlanta, who enjoyed six players in double figures overall. Jeff Teague added 17 points and five rebounds and Joe Johnson chipped in 15. With the win and a Celtics loss, Atlanta will move into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and secure home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki's 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting as he only played 26 tune-up minutes (returning from a near-nasty fall in the second quarter). In fact, only one Maverick, Roddy B – starting in place of a resting Jason Kidd - played more than 30 minutes in this one and had 13 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Though it is difficult to gauge Roddy's progress in this one, his improved play of late is encouraging enough to perhaps merit his inclusion in Rick Carlisle's playoff rotation.
Atlanta, playing for home-court advantage in its forthcoming playoff matchup with Boston, was clearly the more motivated team from the tip in this one, shooting 70% in the first quarter and 53% overall. Dallas hit just over 42% of their field goals. Both teams splashed in a third of their three-point attempts and Atlanta narrowly edged Dallas on the boards 41-40.
With the loss Dallas is now assured of the 7th seed in the Western Conference and will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a rematch of last year's Western Conference. This time, however, it will be the Thunder who enter with home court advantage. Though the Mavericks' roster looks vastly different from the one that brushed aside the young Thunder in five games last season, you can bet the Thunder will be geared up for this one.
"We're a different team from last year and they're a different team from last year,'' Kevin Durant tells the OKC paper. "So I doubt that that series will be the same."
Oklahoma City won three of the four matchups in the regular season against Dallas but all three of those were narrow victories, including Kevin Durant's buzzer-beater in January.
"It's a great matchup,'' Carlisle says. "There's geographic interest, because the two teams are close together, and we had a really intense series with them last year. So, it's a tough matchup, but we're looking forward to it."
Dallas now gets the first-round matchup that it wanted. Relative to the other top seeds this season, the Mavericks match up best with Oklahoma City and we will have all the angles covered on DallasBasketball.com in the coming days.
Oh, and we'll have the Mavs DB.com Get-Together, too!
RED ROCK Bar & Grill gives you the Mavs on the 200-inch screen - the biggest TV in Texas!
Red Rock is at the corner of Frankford & Midway, Just off the Tollway, at 18110 Midway Rd Dallas, TX 75287 .. (972) 733-3683. ... and we're proud to have Red Rock Bar & Grill as a partner at DB.com!
We'll be there at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, with Mavs giveaways, drink specials and live music after the game! Come see Fish and The 75-Member Staff at Red Rock!
Party season is on. Silly season is over, and now the real season, the postseason, begins. Here's the schedule:
G1 - Sat, Dallas at OKC, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
G2 - Mon., Dallas at OKC, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)
G3 - Thu., OKC at Dallas, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)
G4 - May 5, OKC at Dallas, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
G5* - May 7, Dallas at OKC, TBD (TBD)
G6* - May 10, OKC at Dallas, TBD (TBD)
G7* - May 12, Dallas at OKC, TBD (TNT)
For the first time in team history, Dallas enters toting the Larry O'Brien trophy while 15 other teams have a mind to steal it from them.
''The dress rehearsal's over,'' says Jason Kidd, who sat out the game. ''Now it's time for us to protect our crown.''
Come and take it. And come and party with us, Saturday night at Red Rock!
Dallas Basketball Top Stories
Matthews' Message: 'I'll Make You A Believer'On the eve of Media Day and training camp, my 1-on-1 visit with spiritual team leader Wesley Matthews and his message to Mavs fans: 'I'm going to make you a believer.'
Dallas Basketball6:56 AM
Locked On Mavs: How To Lighten Dirk's LoadToday's 'Locked On Mavs' Podcast: How To Lighten Dirk's Load?
Dallas BasketballThursday at 1:21 PM
Mavs Carlisle 1-on-1: 'Best NBA's Ever Been'My 1-on-1 With Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle, Who Talks Mavs Challenges And Says This 'May Be The Best The NBA's Ever Been'
Dallas BasketballThursday at 8:50 AM
Locked On Mavs: Starter's Minutes For Simba?Our 'Locked On Mavs' podcast examines whether Justin Anderson is about to merit 'starter's minutes.'
Dallas BasketballWednesday at 7:18 AM