Schedule breakdown: April bounce or bounced?
If these new mysterious Dallas Mavericks are going to be jockeying for playoff position, perhaps even clawing for a playoff spot until the very end, then April stands to be a make-or-break month.
The Mavs play their final nine games in April all against Western Conference foes -- seven teams in all and as many as six that could be battling for playoff position.
The month starts with a lockout-style four road games in six nights starting on April 2 at the Los Angeles Lakers. Then comes a back-to-back at the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings (April 4-5), a team that might not be ready to challenge for a playoff spot, but should continue to improve. The road trip ends two nights later on April 7 at the Portland Trail Blazers.
The final five games of the season include four at home starting with the re-made Phoenix Suns on April 10. The Nuggets are then in town on April 12. A road-home back-to-back ensues at the New Orleans Hornets and then against the Memphis Grizzlies (April 14-15). The Hornets end the regular season at the American Airlines Center on April 17.
All-in-all, the Mavs' final month includes nine games in 16 days.
The last couple of seasons that would have meant figuring out times to rest Jason Kidd. That won't be an issue this season with a pair of 24-year-olds, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo manning the backcourt. Taking care of business will be the prime objective. Against the West last season, Dallas was 26-22 and 13-10 against next April's foes. The latter recorded was highlighted by a 3-1 mark against the Suns and Nuggets and lowlighted by 0-3 against the Lakers and 1-2 against Memphis, Mayo's former club.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.