The Mavs understand that they have a reputation because of their recent postseason history.
"They pretty much think that we're the same, ol' Mavericks -- one and done, first-round outskies,” Jason Terry said last week. “We don't think that way."
The problem is, they have been playing that way.
It’s hard to have a heck of a lot of confidence in a team that is .500 in its past 16 games, including 0-7 against Western Conference playoff teams. The Mavs’ 2-11 mark against their West playoff peers in the 2011 calendar year might be even more concerning.
It cannot be argued that the Mavs, who made first-round exits in three of the past four seasons, are playing better than their three potential first-round foes right now. The Mavs have lost to Portland Trail Blazers (twice), Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets in the past month. The Trail Blazers and Grizzlies appear to be peaking at the right time. That’s not true for the Hornets, who haven’t been bad despite recently losing power forward David West to a season-ending knee injury, but that makes New Orleans the least likely of the three teams to match up with the Mavs.
Some quick number-crunching on the Mavs’ potential first-round foes:
Record since March 1: 12-6 (5-3 vs. West playoff teams)
Season series with Mavs: Tied, 2-2
Last meeting: Trail Blazers 104, Mavs 96 (April 3)
Record since March 1: 11-5 (5-1 vs. West playoff teams)
Season series with Mavs: Memphis, 3-1
Last meeting: Grizzlies 104, Mavs 103 (March 6)
Record since March 1: 9-7 (3-3 vs. West playoff teams)
Season series with Mavs: New Orleans, 2-1, with one game remaining
Last meeting: Hornets 93, Mavs 92 (March 9)