Mavs Enjoy All Green Lights As Season Closes
With 82 games in the books, the Dallas Mavericks can officially turn their undivided attention to the postseason. The Mavs (50-32) completed their final playoff tune-up on Wednesday night with a 114-98 home win over the Portland Trailblazers. They took care of that Fan Appreciation business while the Spurs (losers against New Orleans) set up the Rockets to be the No. 2 seed ... with all due respect, an advantageous scenario for Dallas, which used its tune-up wisely here.
Dallas, which achieved its first 50-win season since its 2010-2011 championship run, decided to go with its usual starting five (sans the injured Chandler Parsons, who looked sound in [pre-pre warmups, as you see above) in an attempt to iron out a few final kinks in preparation for their first-round matchup with the Rockets, a club that offers Five Reasons Dallas Wanted To Play Houston.
“Now its zero-zero for everybody, and it’s the first team to 16 wins,” coach Rick Carlisle said after Wednesday night’s victory.
Portland, which has now lost five of its last six, limped in the American Airlines Center minus C.J. McCollum and Nicolas Batum, who were lost to injury on Monday night in Oklahoma City. Dallas product LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, tried his best to keep the Blazers in it, but couldn’t find a good-enough rhythm.
Dallas on the other hand, continued to look like a well-oiled machine offensively. The Mavs, who shot 45 percent from the field, opened up the second half with a 15-0 run and never looked back. Tyson Chandler had a double-double by halftime and looked to be chomping at the bit for the postseason with his 22-point, 15-rebound performance. Dirk Nowitzki added 16 points and looks ready for playoff basketball.
What to prep for? Game 1 is Saturday, Apr 18, an 8:30 PM tip at Houston. Game 2 Game 2 is Tuesday, Apr 21, also an 8:30 PM tip at Houston. Game 3 is Friday, Apr 24 at 6 PM at the AAC. Game 4 is Sunday, Apr 26, at the AAC at 8:30 PM. The "if'' games: Game 5 - Tuesday, Apr 28 at Rockets, TBD; Game 6 - Thursday, Apr 30, at Mavericks, TBD; Game 7 - Saturday, May 2, at Rockets, TBD.
Monta Ellis seems to have found a way out of his funk offensively, knocking down seven of 13 shots from the field en route to a 15-point performance. The Mavs will need Ellis to find his postseason form of the 2013-2014 season if they want to make an impact in the Western Conference playoff picture. ... and maybe Monta can be the "gauge'' instead of the "lid,'' as we discuss here.
Dallas opted to rest Devin Harris and Parsons in hopes that the two injured Dallas Mavericks will be ready to go for the postseason. While Harris seems likely to go in Game 1, the prognosis on Parsons is wait-and-see. but CP, like the rest of the Mavs, can now officially look ahead to its first-round matchup with the rival Rockets, who they have not met in post-season play since the 2004-2005 season.
"We've had an up-and-down year this year,'' TY said, "so to be able to come out of it with 50 wins is an achievement."
Dirk, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler and the Mavs seem to be playing their best basketball at the right time ... heading into the postseason, with a 50-win season in their pockets and hopes that there are more green lights on the horizon.