Pregame buzz: Mavs like it too close for comfort?

DALLAS -- It seems that ever since the Mavs' ill-fated 2006-07 season, when former coach Avery Johnson opted to rest players down the stretch as they cruised to the No. 1 seed and 67 victories and a first-round date with upstart Golden State, that players don't even want the option of rest.

Dirk Nowitzki has said the last few seasons that he detests the idea of rest for fear of losing his rhythm (i.e. '07). Of course, Dirk does acknowledge that Jason Kidd is one guy who does need the rest, and that's fine.

But count Jason Terry as one who enjoys the pressure of this tight playoff race.

"It’s definitely better than having a huge lead and trying to figure if you’re going to rest guys or not," Terry said Tuesday. "Now you just jump right into it and it will be good playoff-type basketball all the way through until the first round."

The Mavs officially kicked off "playoff-type basketball" Saturday at Houston because of the compact nature of the Nos. 4 through 10 spots. At this point, nothing is guaranteed for a team that is still trying to get all its players back on the court and has the third-most difficult schedule in the final month of the season.

How important is each game? If the Mavs lose tonight, they will have as many losses as the Rockets, Nuggets and Jazz.

"Every game for us right now, coach has made an emphasis on it that it’s a playoff game for us," Terry said. "And we beat them [Houston] in the first game so it’s our time to close them out, so to speak."