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March 29, 3:00 PM ET
Mavs with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (3:01 PM)

Glad to be back for another Mavs chat. We're running out of time in the regular season. So where do the Mavs stand? Let's go...

Aditya (Banglaore, India)

You know, with the Spurs dropping 4 in a row, everyone is counting on the Lakers to overtake them in the standings. People seem to forget that the Mavs are only a game back of the Lakers, and they still have one last game against each other. So, can the Mavs over take the Spurs by any chance, and take hold of the top seed in the conference?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:03 PM)

Aditya, the Mavs will appreciate your positivity. But, forget about the Mavs catching the Spurs and concentrate on them catching the Lakers, which can probably only happen if the Mavs beat L.A. on Thursday night. The Spurs have lost four in a row, but word coming out of San Antonio is that they will be back to full strength soon and another couple of wins should take care of that No. 1 seed.

Billy OKC [via mobile]

So am I crazy for pulling for the lakers to get the one seed? We probably aren't catching them and I'd rather see the spurs round two right now

Jeff Caplan
  (3:05 PM)

Billy in OKC, sure pull all you want, but if the Mavs are going to go the Finals, they'll have to get by the Lakers at some point. Why not do it in the second round. If you're waiting for the Thunder or the Grizzlies to knock 'em off, I wouldn't hold your breath.

Zak (Greenwich, CT)

My man- this whole getting the #2 seed is not important at all. Dallas is the best road team in the nba. we had home court advantage against warriors and spurs and still we lost. its simply just a matter of getting things together and just playing well. the rest will take care of itself.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:06 PM)

OK, Zak, if you say so, but if I'm playing the Lakers in a 7-game series I would much prefer to have the fist two games at my place and Game 7 at my place. Sure, it doesn't always play out, and the Mavs are good examples of that, even in a positive way when they beat S.A. down there in Game 7 in '06. But, against the Lakers I'd much prefer to see them in purple uniforms and not gold ones.

ianlloreda (in your face)

When I first saw Roddy I thought he had Tony Parker potential. Not simply because they are french, but because they move failry similar on the court. This season I have not seen Roddy go to the basket that much. I know the defense has to honor his jump shot for him to penetrate easily but shouldnt the mavs coaching staff watch some video with him in regards to pick and roll penetration and vertical moves to the basket (such a Parker has shown)? I think Roddy sometimes dribbles too much in the same spot and that causes turnovers.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:09 PM)

In your face? ... anyway, yes, Roddy is taking too many 3. His job is to drive. The stat that bothered me the most the other day was through 18 games he had taken 17 free throws. That needs to change. Even Dirk said he thinks Roddy pulls up for the 3 too often and that he needs to use his speed more to get into the lane. When Roddy does get into the lane, he seems preoccupied with zipping a pass out to a 3-point shooter. Not that that's not a good play, but when he's two feet from the rim, I'd like to see him finish, maybe draw a foul -- he is a good free throw shooter.

chance (dallas)

Why wont Carlisle put Deshawn in starting at the 2? Roddy seems to be more effective off our bench, he hasn't done much as a starter, and we keep getting behind early in games. DeShawn's defense would certainly be an upgrade. Specifically in the playoffs against Manu and Kobe, who will TORCH Roddy.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:10 PM)

Chance, the Mavs are committed to Roddy so they're playing him. DeShawn gave this team all he had, and you know, if the Mavs play the Lakers in the playoffs, maybe DeShawn gets more run for his defense and size. Roddy looked overmatched in the last Lakers game so Thursday's game will be very interesting to see.

Danny Luna (Caron Butler)

On a scale of 1-10. Chances of Caron Butler returning in the 2nd round if Mavs were to get that far.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:11 PM)

Well, look, I'd never doubt Caron Butler, so I can't say he's not going to return. The guy's worked his rear off and he's making steady progress. Now, will he seriously be ready to compete at the level he'll have to in a playoff series against the Lakers. It's hard to see, but again, I'm not going to sit here and say it can't be done.

Mavsfan (Round Rock)

I feel like the Mavs really need to win @ the Lakers and the Blazers in this final stretch to boost their confidence and give them a chance to go deep in the playoffs. If they drop both of those games do you think they can still make a run?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:13 PM)

Yeah, they can still make a run if they lose to L.A. and Portland, but they'll certainly have even more skeptics than are out there now. The Mavs have dropped 7 of their last 8 against West playoff teams. If they lose to the Lakers Thursday it will virtually lock them into the No. 3 seed. And Portland is really looking like their first-round matchup, so winning up there could send a strong message that the Mavs are the stronger team and won't get pushed around by a lower seed. All three games so far have been very close with home team winning each game.

Christopher (Dallas)

Should'nt we want Dirk to shoot more and dribble more to get his shots. Its as if he dont want to dribble to get his shot just post up and fade which usually results in him passing. maybe hes waiting for the playoffs, Dirk being a monster or killer or what ever they call the greats, is the only way we get a ring.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:15 PM)

I think you'll see Dirk's shot attempts go up in the playoffs, and I would like to see him put the ball on the floor and drive more. He has become quite good at getting to the rim and he converts nearly every time he goes in. the other night he drove and put up a very nice looking hook that didn't go down, but it was a really nice move and a hook is something we rarely see from Dirk. I have longed for him to try to get that in his arsenal, but he's never felt real comfortable with it in a game.

Jordan Johnson (Plano Texas)

What do you think the odds are of us getting the number 2 seed at the end of the season, also getting 60 wins. Do you know Caron Butler's timeline for coming back and will he be productive once he comes back?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:17 PM)

Well to get 60 wins, the Mavs will have to go 8-1 to finish the season, not impossible, but we'll see how Carlisle plays it in the final week as far as resting guys. Plus, that would mean the Mavs beat the Lakers and Trail Blazers most likely to get to 60. As for the No. 2 seed, I'm not counting on it. The Lakers hold the tiebreaker if they finish the regular season tied, so L.A.'s one-game lead in the standings right now is really two games. the Mavs must win Thursday to have a shot at the No. 2. Falling three games will be too much to overcome.

Eric (Abilene)

This is going to sound crazy but I think Tyson Chandler has crossed the threshold into Overratedville. He has not been able to finish around the rim since his ankle injury and he keeps staying in foul trouble. The mavs might want to get Haywood more minutes going into the playoffs especially if we are going to be playing Memphis and the Lakers.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:20 PM)

Well, Eric, not sure if you saw Chandler's 16-point, 18-rebound game against the Suns Sunday night. That was refreshing because he did it against a big, physical center in Marcin Gortat, who finished with 20 and 15, so that was a quite a battle. BUT, Eric, I'm not going to go to Overratedville, that's an overreaction, but there was cause for concern with Chandler sort of disappearing in games against the Lakers, Spurs and Trail Blazers. Perhaps the ankle was still a problem. But, as the team plays better on defense that's a reflection on his play, so let's take a look at the L.A. and Portland game. Bynum killed him last time for 22 and 15 and LaMarcus Aldridge has averaged 30 points in the three games.

Dominique (Toney)

Do you have any insight to the playoff rotation because outside of Mahami and Cardinal(no offense to them) everyone else deserves consitant minutes. How will Carlise handle this?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:23 PM)

Dominique, I think you're seeing the playoff rotation take form right now.Starters: Kidd, Roddy, Marion, Dirk, ChandlerBackups: Barea, Terry, Peja, Haywood (when his head is in it)..DeShawn and Cardinal could see some spot time and it looks like Brewer is just out of the mix unless something happens in the final nine games.

Frank (Montreal)

It is sad to see DeShawn's role diminished to almost inactive after his hearty contributions earlier in the season. He does deserve at least 10 minutes per game, or else he's more than likely a trade asset in the summer. What say you?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:25 PM)

Frank, DeShawn will be a free agent at the end of the season. I suppose there is a case to be made for DeShawn, but the Mavs are committed to Roddy because he is still the only one with the athletic ability to get to the hole at will -- something he needs to do more often. Stevenson is more of a one-trick pony, he shoots the 3 and we all know the Mavs have plenty of that.

kevin (lewisville)

so if you are donnie nelson next year and stike last long enough that idd retires what would the mavs do at point guard ?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:26 PM)

Semantics, but it will be the owner's locking out the players, not the players going on strike. Well, the Mavs wanted to groom Beaubois to take over the point, but his injury obviously slowed his progression. That could still happen or the Mavs will have to look into free agency or a trade.

Chris (Addison Cubicle)

The other night Roddy B picked up 3 fouls quickly to start the 3rd but was allowed to play threw it. Is Rick finally letting Roddy have a little slack to work on his mistakes in game time?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:29 PM)

Rick left Roddy in after he picked up three quick fouls to give him four overall because Roddy was finally having an impact on the game. I said as soon as he got 4 that he should stay in because he learns nothing on the bench. Roddy was challenging Nash by going to the hole and he hit a 3 and was playing pretty good defense except for the fouls, some of he just has to learn to be in better position. His fifth foul was just senseless, let the guy go and live to play another minute. But, look, Rick knows this team needs what Roddy brings, so he's got to play him.

Johnny (Spring Break)

Are the Mavs healthy? Chandler? Haywood? I feel those guys are going to have to be huge in the playoffs.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:30 PM)

Johnny, Yeah, I think so. Chandler sprained his ankle on March 1 and missed three games. It might have affected him some, but it seems like he's ok. As far as Haywood, I worry more about his heart and head than anything physical. I just don't know how engaged he is from night to night.

Tom (Plano)

Is it better for Peja to start the game since he is a 3 shooter and should be ready after warm ups where Marion is a slice and dice guy who gets most of his points off Dunks and short floaters?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

Well, I like Marion starting. For one, I think he's far more capable of giving you 30+ minutes a night and I like his rebounding. I also think he's more effective offensively playing with Kidd and Dirk, just more opportunities. Peja, I think is a 15-20 minute guy, sometimes maybe more, who is really only valuable when he's knocking down 3s. I do see your point that if Peja comes off the bench, there aren't many 3-point shooters other than Dirk and Kidd.

Chris W (In a smokey room)

As I was having a quick smoke, I thought what are the odds the Mavs can trade for Blake Griffen in the off season, looking forward to seeing a few highlight dunks tonight, but a Mavs win of course.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

Chris, first off, stop smoking, man. It's just not good for you. Trade for Blake Griffin? And just who do you think the Clips want off this roster for Mr. Griffin?

mike (HAMBURG)

Is it just an ongoing experiment or will beaubois start in the playoffs? as a consequence, shouldn't roddy play more to "prepare" himself?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:34 PM)

Yes, Roddy will start in the playoffs. He needs to show he can handle the Lakers Thursday night after the last meeting tore him up. He'll play more if he can stay on the floor, but he has a problem with fouling.

Angie (Little Elm)

Are the top 8 seeds pretty much set or do you see a team falling out? Just curious as who it looks like the Mavs will meet in the first round as of now.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:36 PM)

After David West went down with that awful knee injury I thought they might fade, but they're hanging tough. The Rockets have been playing well and are the team that could sneak in, but right now it looks like the 8 are set, but not necessarily in their current order. If anyone changes spots I can see Memphis overtaking New Orleans.

Mike (Pittsburgh)

With four games remaining on this road trip and tough games to come after, would it be fair to say that the Mavs are just as concerned about slipping to the four seed as they are focused on getting the two seed?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:37 PM)

Nah, I don't think so. OKC I believe is three games worse in the loss column? The Thunder were getting close when the Mavs were in their recent funk but a home loss to Toronto set OKC back.

Mark Aguirre Fan Club (Hospital Waiting area)

Whats the latest on Mark? Heard the initial report and then nothing? An update please.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:37 PM)

You heard nothing because he's OK. No heart problems or anything of that nature. Was at the hospital for some test and observation, but all seems fine.

Jim (ny)

jeff! what is your crunch time 5?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:38 PM)

Kidd, Terry, Marion, Dirk, Chandler....If Mavs are behind and need points quick, you might have Peja in instead of Marion.

Joe (dallas)

I think the best way to use Peja is to start him and try to get him open looks in the half court when Dirk is doubled teamed. When he comes in with the second unit, his shots are more contested and he seems to be rushing them since no one in the floor requires double teams. If he's got nothing, you can come in with Marion rather quickly. Plus this team played the best with Marion and Terry off the bench. What do you think?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:41 PM)

Well, as I just answered, I'm good with Marion starting, but there is validity to your arguement, and in the last two games, the stats support it. I think you put your best five on the floor first -- and that might be Terry over Roddy, but that's a different story -- and I'm good with Marion starting, mainly for his defense, which can't be overlooked. If the Mavs play Portland, Peja can't guard Wallace or Roy for that matter. Against the Lakers, who covers Kobe if Peja starts?

Jaime (Mexico)

Hello Jeff, hope you are ok. it's always a pleasure reading your blogs. My question is if Beaubois has proved us his toughness and showed some mature, I loved the way he fouled Gortat was a hard foul of a raw small player against a big guy and he didn't score. We must love that kind of playing; plus I like the pressure he puts on the ballhander he has in every game at least one deflected ball .

Jeff Caplan
  (3:43 PM)

Jaime, yeah he is maturing. He is playing better defense and I love his aggressiveness going up for rebounds and starting the break. He can't foul like he is though or he'll take himself out of games.

Kevin (Jax, FL)

Hey Jeff, I bet your buddy MacMahon is jealous he has to cover the rangers into the beginning of the season, instead of covering the Mavs heading into the playoffs, like you. Is there somewhat of a rivalry between you two or are you both friends that like to pick at each other? I know, stupid question, but....

Jeff Caplan
  (3:44 PM)

Kevin, no one like MacMahon, let's get that straight first of all...and, I hate to disappoint you and I hope you'll continue to get your Mavs coverage at espndallas.com, but MacMahon is actually with the team now. He'll cover the remainder of this road trip while I get a little R & R before the playoffs.

Dirk Ratcliff (Indiana)

Who will step up and play well Besides Dirk in the play-offs?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:45 PM)

The million dollar question.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:45 PM)

The million dollar question.

Dylan (Waco, Texas)

The defense seems to be picking it up in the past couple of games, but im still worried with how we match up down low with the Lakers. Chandler seems to do well but when he gets in foul trouble we tend to hurt. Your thoughts on our lineup for the playoffs? And after the season is over should we focus on getting a #3 or another strong big man to compensate Chandler? Also any update on Caron?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:46 PM)

Everyone is worried about how they match up down low with the Mavs. The Mavs like their combo of Chandler/Haywood and they are really the longest of the contenders. OKC helped themselves with Perkins. After the season, the Mavs will do everything they can to lock up Chandler. Wouldn't surprise me if Caron is back.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:48 PM)

OK, everyone, another 45 minutes blowin n goin' ... really appreciate the input and we appreciate your support. Remember you won't find more Mavs content updated more often than right here and even better, it's FREE!!!!Enjoy the games this week and we'll talk about them Tuesday.