DALLAS -- How much difference will Monday’s NBA action make to the Mavericks’ approach Wednesday night in Memphis?
There’s a decent chance that the Mavs could be locked into the Western Conference’s seventh seed by the time their heads hit the pillow tonight. That would be the case if the home teams prevail in the Minnesota-Golden State and Memphis-Phoenix games.
If the seventh or even sixth seed is at stake, the Mavs obviously go all out to beat the Grizzlies in the regular-season finale. What if the Mavs can’t move up or down in the standings?
“We’re prepared for Wednesday at this point in time as a game we need to win,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Beyond that, right now, that’s where we’re at. I don’t think it’s a good idea to get into answering kharmically flawed questions like that. I’ll politely decline that. I would even say respectfully decline.
“We’ll watch the game tonight. The games tonight are going to be of great interest to everybody. But we’re working at getting better for Wednesday’s game and the playoffs in these next two days. That’s what we need to do. We got a lot of things to work on.”
The regular-season finale could also factor into whether the Mavs give up their top-20 protected pick this summer, but that's the furthest thing from Carlisle's mind.
The Mavs, who had the good fortune of getting a few days in between their final two games of the regular season, will be well rested entering the playoffs regardless of their approach Wednesday night.
Could that rust turn into rest? That’s not a concern for Dirk Nowitzki, who has logged 2,582 minutes as a 35-year-old star this season.
Nowitzki said he has “no idea” what the plan would be for Wednesday night if the Mavs are locked into the seventh seed, but he doesn’t believe that a good run against the Grizzlies is a requirement for the Mavs to be in rhythm entering the playoffs.
“I’m not sure if we necessarily need it,” Nowitzki said. “I thought we had a great practice today where we got some running in, we played some five-on-five. I think either way we’ll be fine, to be honest. I’m not worried about it. Either way, we’ll all be on the same page and be ready and on top of our games on the weekend.”
The Mavs might not say it, but they’d obviously like to avoid the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Not that facing the Oklahoma City Thunder or Los Angeles Clippers would be a walk in the park.
“You’re getting a terrific team, regardless,” Carlisle said. “Our perspective is we want to move up as high as we can. And if you have the opportunity to move up, you do it. You go for it. I go back to my first year here. We were really fighting to get in up until the last day and a bunch of wacky things happened and [Michael] Finley hit a shot at the end of the Spurs game that got them an overtime win and somehow we ended up in the sixth spot instead of the eighth spot, boom, just like that on one shot. And that really helped us that year get to six and we were able to win in the first round.
“This year, there’s still a lot to be determined. We’ll sit back and watch the things we can’t control and things that we can, we’ll do our best to control them.”