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Friday, April 20, 2012
Mavs shrug shoulders at choice of opponent

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- There was little rejoicing at the American Airlines Center the morning after the Mavericks clinched their postseason ticket by not playing a game. Playoff berths don't elicit much fanfare around here, not with the consecutive postseasons streak now having stretched to a dozen.

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Mavs coach Rick Carlisle dishes on the state of his team now that they've clinched a playoff spot. He also talks about Delonte West's "West willy" and why he's gone with Vince Carter over Shawn Marion in the last couple of games.

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Maybe there was just a little relief this time around, but no fanfare.

Still, don't think that players don't look at the standings to see who they match up with on any given night. They might not come out and tell you who they want to play, but they know the score during the regular season and which teams they match up best with.

"We can’t be worried about it," Jason Kidd said of a first-round playoff opponent. "I think the highest seed we can get is sixth and the lowest seed we can get is eighth, so for us it's just a matter of finishing off the season the right way so whoever we play at the 3 or whatever seed we have, that’s who we have to play."

Kidd is right. The 5-seed is virtually unattainable because Memphis has three fewer losses than Dallas with four games to play (Mavs have three left) and the Grizzlies hold the tiebreaker. If you think Memphis could lose all four and the Mavs can win out, just remember that the Grizz play the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. They haven't won a game since March 17.

So it's No. 6, 7 or 8, with 6 and 7 being the most likely possibilities. If Dallas finishes sixth, the Lakers are the most probable matchup after the Clippers hurt their chances of moving up with Thursday's loss at Phoenix. A seventh-place finish will net the Spurs or Thunder.

Jason Terry also said that he doesn't care which team he faces. But he's not so sure, like a year ago, that other teams aren't lining up for a shot at the defending champs. Terry, like last year, said be careful what you wish for.

Here we go again with no respect card.

"A lot of teams are hoping and wishing that they can play the Mavericks similar to last year," Terry said. "They’re going to get what they ask for soon."

Hey, whatever works.