<
>

As the Mavs Sit: WCF slate gets tougher

5/14/2011

If the Dallas Mavericks think this week went by slowly ... enjoy your weekend.

The Memphis Grizzlies, powered by impressive forward Zach Randolph, dominated the second half and will force the Oklahoma City Thunder to win it or lose it on their home court. Game 7, and not Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, will go down Sunday afternoon north of the Red River.

The Mavs will again crank back the recliner, work in the garden and maybe cruise NorthPark or something.

At least they finally know when they'll play -- 8 p.m. Tuesday night (schedule below). They still don't know who'll they'll play.

Judging by players' comments after Friday's practice on the fifth consecutive day without a game, the sense was that this team, fresh off a sweep of the Lakers, wouldn't have minded a Sunday start, the same as the Bulls and Heat.

That's not an endorsement of the Thunder over the Grizzlies; just recognition that rest is great, but this is getting ridiculous.

Nine days will pass between Mavs games, the longest yawnfest of the season. It can be argued that a Game 7, atypically, is a worst-case scenario for Dallas from a scheduling perspective.

For starters, the turnaround time before Game 1 just got a few hours longer for the Game 7 winner. Had OKC won Game 6 it would have tipped Game 1 at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, about 12 hours after arriving at its Dallas hotel. A few extra hours for either youthful team will come in handy.

Game 7 also significantly alters the series schedule itself. Games will now come fast and furious every other day, start to finish. A Sunday start meant a three-day break between Game 2 in Dallas and Game 3 in Memphis/OKC. The veteran Mavs might not need three days, but that second day could be of benefit to older legs after two games in three days (yes, even after nine days off).

But hey, at least the Mavs know they'll finally play again.

Western Conference finals schedule

Game 1: Tue., OKC/Memphis at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Game 2: Thu., OKC/Memphis at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Game 3: May 21, Dallas at OKC/Memphis, 8 p.m.

Game 4: May 23, Dallas at OKC/Memphis, 8 p.m.

Game 5*: May 25, OKC/Memphis at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Game 6*: May 27, Dallas at OKC/Memphis, 8 p.m.

Game 7*: May 29, OKC/Memphis at Dallas, 8 p.m.

*if necessary