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Thursday, April 21, 2011
Can road success continue in playoffs?

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS – No NBA team had a better road record than the Mavericks this season, whose 28 wins away from home were matched only by the Miami Heat.

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ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon tells Ben and Skin he believes the Mavs will make it past this round but beyond that is wishful thinking.

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That means nothing but the Mavs will have a healthy dose of confidence as they arrive in Portland in preparation for Games 3 and 4. That’s a lesson the Mavs learned the hard way last year.

“Unfortunately, if you look at last season, I think we were the best road team and that didn’t help us in the playoffs,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We lost all three games we played in San Antonio and ended up losing the series, 4-2. The playoffs is a new season.”

Added Rick Carlisle: “We’ve been a good road team, but your record during the regular season doesn’t guarantee you anything during the playoffs. We found that out last year.”

They’re absolutely right. The Mavs were an NBA-best 27-14 on the road during the 2009-10 regular season, but they went oh-fer in the AT&T Center during the first round.

As impressive as the Mavs have been away from home during the regular seasons, the Mavs recent road track record in the playoffs is as awful. They’ve lost 16 of the 18 postseason games away from the American Airlines Center, a trend that started after they took a 2-0 lead in the 2006 NBA Finals.

The past isn’t a problem in the Mavs’ minds. Their focus is on getting ready for a raucous environment at the Rose Garden, where Portland went 30-11, including a pair of wins over the Mavs.

“It’s a great fan base, one of the best in the league,” said Carlisle, who was a Blazers assistant for three years. “The place will be packed, it’ll be wild and they’ll be jacked up. It’ll be a terrific challenge for us. It’s a challenge you’ve got to look forward to.”