Dallas Mavericks: Clippers

Wild West: Mavs-Thunder series nearly set?

April, 26, 2012

We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: The Mavericks are closing in on a first-round series with the No. 2-seed Oklahoma City Thunder in what would be a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals. A Dallas loss at Atlanta on Thursday or a Denver win at Minnesota (or if both lose), then the series is set. If the Mavs win and the Nuggets lose, Dallas will finish with the sixth seed and take on the Lakers.

Nuggets 106, Thunder 101: Denver takes the upper hand for the No. 6 seed and a first-round date with the Lakers, while the Thunder are thrilled that James Harden, the leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate, was medically cleared Wednesday for the start of the playoffs after sustaining a concussion Sunday.

Knicks 99, Clippers 93: Chris Paul sat out with a mild groin strain and now the Clippers need the Grizzlies to lose at home today to the Magic to secure home-court advantage in their first-round series with Memphis.

Mavs at Hawks
Nuggets at Timberwolves
Magic at Grizzlies

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder

Wild West: All spots clinched, matchups are not

April, 25, 2012
We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.


Of their potential first-round opponents, who do the Mavs have a better chance of beating?


Discuss (Total votes: 2,237)

Mavs' spot in the standings: Dallas heads into its fourth consecutive day off knowing it will face either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. The Los Angeles Clippers' loss Tuesday locked the Lakers into the No. 3 seed. The Clips are now trying to hold onto the No. 4 seed for home-court advantage in a first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jazz 100, Suns 88: Paul Millsap poured in 26 points and Al Jefferson had 18 to secure the final playoff spot and knock Steve Nash out for a second consecutive season. Utah will face the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

Hawks 109, Clippers 102: Blake Griffin scored 36 points, but Joe Johnson had 28 to lead the Hawks, who are bearing down on home-court advantage in the first round in the East. The Clips were eliminated from contention for the No. 3 seed in the West and now hope to stave off the Grizzlies for home-court advantage.

Nuggets at Thunder
Clippers at Knicks

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder

Wild West: Mavs-Thunder rematch grows closer

April, 24, 2012
We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: Idle Dallas can check the San Antonio Spurs off its list of potential first-round playoff foes. The Spurs walloped Portland to clinch the No. 1 seed, which also locked the Oklahoma City Thunder into the No. 2 seed. If the Mavs, who don't play until Thursday, stay at No. 7, they will face the Thunder with Game 1 at OKC this weekend. A move up to No. 6 likely draws the Lakers, with the Clippers still in the hunt for the No. 3 seed.

Spurs 124, Trail Blazers 89: San Antonio clinched the No. 1 seed in winning its eighth consecutive game, all by double-digit margins.

Grizzlies 109, Cavaliers 101: Six Grizzlies scored in double figures as they kept hope alive for the No. 4 seed and homecourt advantage.

Clippers at Hawks
Kings at Thunder
Suns at Jazz

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Thunder

Cold shooting in Chicago for Dirk Nowitzki

April, 21, 2012
CHICAGO -- Dirk Nowitzki is famous for shooting the lights out in some of the league's most famous arenas. He takes target practice at Madison Square Garden, destroys the Boston Celtics in Beantown and has scored more points at Staples Center than any other visitor.

Chicago's United Center is a different story. Nowitzki and the Mavs make their lone visit against the Bulls tonight, a game the 7-footer is fully expected to play in despite Dallas having clinched a playoff berth.

Nowitzki might not play his full allotment of minutes, but he will be looking to raise his shooting percentage in the Windy City. According the Elias Sports Bureau, Nowitzki has a .415 career field-goal percentage at the United Center, his lowest career field-goal percentage in any arena in which he has at least 100 attempts.

Other tidbits from Elias heading into tonight's nationally televised game on ESPN:

* Nowitzki has scored 24,095 points during the regular season, all with the Mavs. Only four players in NBA history scored 24,000 points while playing their whole career with one team: Kobe Bryant (29,458 with Lakers), John Havlicek (26,395 with Celtics), Reggie Miller (25,279 with Pacers) and Jerry West (25,192 with Lakers).

* Jason Kidd is not expected to play tonight, which leaves him with one final opportunity on Thursday at Atlanta to extend his streak of recording at least one triple-double to 18 consecutive seasons. He holds the NBA record of 17 seasons in a row. Kidd has had at least two triple-doubles in every season he has been in the NBA. He nearly got it done on April 12 at Golden State, but finished one point shy with nine points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

* Jason Terry has made at least one 3-point field goal in 78.7 percent of the regular-season games he has appeared in during his career (804 of 1,021). Only four players in NBA history have made a 3-pointer in a higher percentage of their games than Terry (minimum: 500 games): Ray Allen (89.0), Peja Stojakovic (85.2), Reggie Miller (80.1) and Chauncey Billups (79.2). (The NBA instituted the 3-point line in 1979-80.)

* The Mavs are 10-6 against Eastern Conference teams this season. With two games to go, they are assured of finishing with a winning record over the other conference for a 12th consecutive season. Only one other team has posted a winning record against teams from the opposite conference in each season since 2000-01: San Antonio.

* The Mavs have posted a 10-6 (.625) record at the United Center since the Bulls began playing their home games there in 1994. That is tied with the Clippers (go figure) for the second-highest winning percentage among visiting teams, behind the Thunder (11-6, .647).

* Bulls 3-point specialist Kyle Korver is shooting only .344 from the field in the second half of games this season. Only three players in the league have a lower second-half field-goal percentage than Korver (minimum: 150 FGA): Toney Douglas (.313), Stephen Jackson (.330) and Lamar Odom (.335).

The race for the sixth seed, or is it seventh?

April, 19, 2012
UPDATED: 9 a.m., Friday.

The Dallas Mavericks clinched a playoff berth Thursday with New Orleans' win over Houston. Now attention turns strictly to seeding and matchups.

With the Mavs (35-28) -- back in action tonight for their home finale against the Golden State Warriors -- and Denver Nuggets (34-28) in a virtual dead heat in the Western Conference standings and both teams now two games ahead of the trailing Utah Jazz (33-30) and Phoenix Suns (33-30) in the loss column, the jockeying between the two is coming down to the sixth and seventh seeds.

Which would the Mavs prefer? As the seventh seed the Mavs know their travel will be light to play the No. 2 seed. They'd start the playoffs either north of the Red River at the Oklahoma City Thunder or on the River Walk at the San Antonio Spurs. The sixth seed will face the No. 3 seed and likely head to Los Angeles to face Kobe Bryant's Lakers. Chris Paul's Clippers lost Thursday at Phoenix, a hit to their chances of moving up and Memphis remains a long shot.

"It doesn’t matter at all," Jason Terry said of which seed the Mavs finish. "We've just got to get in. One more game and we solidify one of those three spots and and we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a helluva playoffs. If I'm a fan I'm sitting here waiting. I can’t wait for the next week and a half to be up."

Jet can just about forget about the eighth seed. The Mavs hold the tiebreaker on the Nuggets, Jazz and Suns.

So which team, the Mavs or Nuggets, hold the upper hand to finish in sixth? Well, it depends just as much on how those two teams approach their final games after playoff berths are locked up as it does on their opponents' approach.

For instance, the Mavs could face a Chicago Bulls team Saturday night intent on finishing with the best record in the NBA. The Atlanta Hawks on Thursday could still be dueling with the Boston Celtics and/or Orlando Magic for the No. 4 seed and homecourt in the first round.

Here's the breakdown of schedules for the Mavs and Nuggets:

Mavs (winning percentage of opponents: .573)
Fri: vs. Golden State (22-39)
Sat: at Chicago (47-15)
April 26: at Atlanta (37-25)

Nuggets (winning percentage of opponents:.554)
Sat: at Phoenix (32-30)
Sun: vs. Orlando (36-26)
Wed: at Oklahoma City (45-17)
April 26: at Minnesota (25-38)

Looks like Kobe Bryant won't play vs. Mavs

April, 14, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Mavericks might get a rare look at the Los Angeles Lakers without superstar Kobe Bryant in Sunday's nationally televised game.

ESPN Los Angeles' Andrew Kamenetzky reported Saturday that Bryant did not participate in the team's practice and according to head coach Mike Brown is "most likely to be out" of the lineup against Dallas as he continues recovering from tenosynovitis, or inflammation in his left shin.

It would be the fifth consecutive game Bryant has missed as the Lakers try to hold off the Clippers for the No. 3 seed in the West. The Lakers, swept out of the second round of the playoffs a year ago by the Mavs, are 3-0 against Dallas this season. Bryant averaged just 14.5 points a game on less than 28 percent shooting in the first two meetings, but scored 30 in last month's game at Dallas with Mavs defensive player of the year candidate Shawn Marion out with a knee injury.

The Lakers are 3-1 without Bryant during this stretch.

The Mavs have won three in a row and will try to match their longest winning streak since the All-Star break.

If the current standings hold in the final six games of the regular season, the Mavs will open the playoffs in L.A. against the Lakers.

Jason Terry wants to boost his stat line

April, 6, 2012
DALLAS -- Mavericks sixth man Jason Terry has posted at least 15 points, four rebounds and three assists in three consecutive games.

"That's my average," Terry said following Friday's morning shootaround in preparation for tonight's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. "I'd like to do 20-5-3 for three games in a row, see if I can get that done. I know we've got a great chance to win if I do that. Just got to be consistent."

Terry hasn't put up 20-5-3 this season. In fact, Terry's scoring 20 points or more doesn't necessarily correlate to winning games. The Mavs are just 5-4 in those games.

Perhaps he knows of a formula that is more important to posting W's.

"More importantly for us tonight is coming out and guarding," Terry said. "When we get out and guard and get after it and don't allow teams to get comfortable in our building, we're pretty damn good."

The Mavs guarded in the second half of Wednesday's 95-85 win against Memphis, holding the Grizzlies to 34 points -- 17 in each quarter. Yet in both games of this three-game homestand, Dallas has not defended well in the first half. On Monday versus the Clippers, the Mavs trailed 47-33 at halftime and proceeded to lose the game 94-75.

Minute Men: Jason Kidd shelved; Dirk goes deep

January, 12, 2012

Our weekly look at how coach Rick Carlisle is managing the minutes of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd during this 66-game schedule:

Obviously, Jason Kidd's lower back injury has taken him out of the lineup all week and perhaps surprisingly, the Dallas Mavericks have put together three consecutive wins without their 38-year-old floor general. Delonte West has filled in nicely -- he might want to find the 7-foot blond guy a bit more often -- switching from starting shooting guard to the point.

Kidd has not had a great start with numbers (including 30.8 percent field-goal shooting) far below his standards across the board. Across with Kidd, it's his intangibles that are so highly counted on by this veteran team than his stat line.

Dirk Nowitzki, meanwhile, added another game-winning bucket to his ledger Wednesday night at Boston with a strong drive and finish for a three-point play with 5.1 seconds to left. He struggled for the better part of the game after going 9-of-10 in Detroit, which followed a 5-of-22 stretch in the previous two games. Such is life in the post-lockout NBA.

It's simply going to take time for players to get in shape and find a consistent rhythm. Dirk included.

Here's a look at how Carlisle is handling his two most important players through the first seven games.

Season averages: 28.1 mpg, 4.9 ppg, 4.7 apg, 3.8 rpg
The breakdown: Since last week's report, Kidd played 11:32 of the first quarter at the San Antonio Spurs and then headed to the locker room holding his lower back. He later described the injury as back spasms, caused when big man DeJuan Blair leaned on Kidd as the two battled for rebound position. Kidd attended Monday's White House ceremony and then returned to Dallas to resume treatments. He will be re-evaluated today. The hope was that he would be ready for Friday's game against Milwaukee, the first of a home back-to-back, but that could be pushing things. His availability will be determined closer to game time.

Season averages: 31.6 mpg, 18.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.7 apg
The breakdown: Dirk's scoring (including 19.0 percent from 3-point range) and rebounds continue to be well below his career marks, but coach Rick Carlisle said he's not worried, pointing out that his playing time is also well below normal levels. That's due to several reasons that include Carlisle being mindful of his minutes with so games lumped together, Dirk still working his way into shape and the fact that four of the first 11 games have been blowouts, limiting him to just a few minutes or no minutes in those fourth quarters. Finally on Tuesday he was on the right side of a rout at Detroit and it kept his minutes down to 28, helping him to go 38 in Boston, one minute shy of his season-high in that stunning road loss at Oklahoma City. Even with the 38 minutes, Dirk averaged just 30.0 minutes in the four games played in the past seven days.

What's ahead: We'll just have to wait and see if Kidd's back has bounced back enough for the home back-to-back or if it is a better idea for him to take the weekend off and get ready for two big games in Los Angeles -- Monday against the Lakers and Wednesday against the remodeled Clippers. Dirk, coming off a very manageable week minutes-wise, should be in fine shape for this stretch of five games in seven nights that starts Friday and ends next Thursday at a suddenly resurgent Utah team that features former Mavs Devin Harris and Josh Howard.



Dirk Nowitzki
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9