Mavs Game 82: The Meaning Of It All

Tonight's Game 82 will be the fifth straight outing for Dallas of virtually no significance as the final prep game before another post-season run. But, just how insignificant is this one? We examine Blazers-at-Mavs ...

Sitting at 49 wins, the Dallas Mavericks have the opportunity to sail off into the proverbial playoff sunset on a high note when they face the Portland Trail Blazers (Early start tonight: 6:30 p.m. pre-game with "Mavs Live,'' 7 p.m. tip-off on FOX Sports Southwest). It will be the fifth straight game for Dallas of virtually no significance as the final prep game before another post-season run. But, just how insignificant is tonight’s game?

With the Mavs and Blazers having already locked up the seventh and fourth seeds, respectively, both have remained focused on collecting as many healthy bodies as possible heading into the playoffs.


Already without Chandler Parsons (sore right knee), the Mavs proved that ‘meaningless’ games really don’t exist in the NBA, as they watched Devin Harris limp to the Mavs locker room with a very ‘meaningful’ left toe injury during Monday night’s loss at Utah. The Mavs brass later announced that they didn’t believe the Harris injury was “serious” ... but that’s what they said about Parsons – who has missed the past five games and has expressed concern about his playoff readiness.

However, the pile of inactives for the Trail Blazers is even worse. Starter Wesley Matthews has already been shelved for the season with a torn left Achilles. His hopeful replacement, shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who is averaging 10.6 points in 25 games since being traded from the Nuggets, is out for two weeks with a strained shoulder. On Monday night, Portland voluntarily and actively participated in a ‘meaningless’ game against the OKC Thunder that saw three of their players, in Chris Kaman (back injury), C.J. McCollum (sprained left knee) and Nicolas Batum (right knee contusion), come down with ‘meaningful’ injuries, as well. Then, of course, there’s star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has missed the past two contests with a left foot sprain coupled with the torn ligament in his left thumb he’s been playing with all season, although the DFW native expected to play tonight.

Following the Rajon Rondo trade, the Mavs’ up-and-down play already had many questioning what the team had going into the playoffs, and now were beginning to be more concerned with just who they will have. Parsons has been ruled out for tonight’s game, but continues to express desire to go come playoff time, of coruse. However, it seems a certainty at this point he’ll likely be less than 100 percent.

While it’s anybody’s guess just who will be in the lineup tonight until coach Rick Carlisle says otherwise (at the very last moment, as is his custom), with rest and health being the main priority, the expectation is that the starters will play, sans Chandler Parsons. The Mavs will look to build off what appears to be a playoff-ready Dirk. In his last seven contests, The UberMan is averaging 19.4 points on 52.2 percent shooting, including eight of 20 from three.

Here’s to hoping Dirk Nowitzki and Co. avoid injuries by playing limited minutes, though we all know it will come down to a “coach’s decision.” Make no mistake; Carlisle understands the psychology of what a 50-win season, and a chance to tie the season series with Trail Blazers, does for his troops heading into the weekend. ... it's worth a little something, we suppose.


Tonight will be more about scoreboard-watching more that anything. (San Antonio, Houston and the Clippers are all in play for the No. 2 spot and a Round 1 bout with Dallas, with the Spurs needing to win against New Orleans to seal the deal.) The dust will settle, and we will get a clearer picture of what and who to expect come this weekend. ... follow Michael Lark and Fish and we'll keep you posted all day and night. ...

It’s Fan Appreciation Night at the AAC, and that has "meaning,'' too. Appreciation for 49, maybe for 50, and then it’s playoff time!

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