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April 18, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (1:59 PM)

Welcome back to Mavs chat with me, Jeff Caplan. Always appreciate your participation. Huge game tonight. The Mavs can take a huge step toward getting into the playoffs with a win over the suddenly struggling Houston Rockets. So let's get to your questions...

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

I Heard some Reporters say the the Dallas Mavericks might not make the Playoffs after the Regular Season. Is that True?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:01 PM)

Well, Chris, and thank you once again for being the first one in with a question. The Mavs have not clinched a playoff spot yet and let's just say if they lose three of their last four games, they might not get it. Of course it depends what the teams behind them --Houston, Phoenix and Utah do as well. That's why tonight's game against the Rockets is huge. It would put Dallas up two games in the loss column and Dallas holds the tiebreaker.

Kenny (Frisco)

Jeff, always good to chat!I was wondering if we make it to the playoffs, is there any room for Roddy to get some consistent rotation minutes? I know it's a crowded back court, but maybe giving more minutes to VC at the 3 will give him that opportunity. What say you?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:03 PM)

Yes, Kenny, I think Roddy has a place in the rotation. Much has to do with matchups. Against the Lakers, say, I don't know if he plays much because I don't know who he guards consistently. Carter will get more minutes at the 3 because Shawn Marion is going to have to play more at the 4 like he did last year because Lamar Odom is on vacation the rest of the season. Roddy is expected to play tonight, so he needs to show that he deserves playoff minutes.

Lawrence (Toronto, Canada)

Who else is on the Mavs radar come free agency; that isn't named Deron.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:04 PM)

Geez Lawrence, can't we get through the season before worrying about next season. Obviously, Steven Nash is a guy that they'll be interested in if D-Will falls through. Otherwise, check out the free agent list on espn.com and you can check out all the names. I'll get to that once this season is over.

parker (new london tx)

what do the mavs do if deron williams goes else where, and please dont say steve nash.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:04 PM)

Oops, sorry Parker.

nish (mesquite)

OKC seems like a better matchup for the Mavs than Spurs, Dont you think?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:05 PM)

Nish, I don't think either one is a good matchup. I will say this, the Mavs like playing OKC. Dirk scores a ton against them and I think they like play the experience card on them, although it was OKC that closed out the regular-season games better than Dallas. To me, the most favorable matchup is the Clippers, which has a chance of happening.

Maniesh (New York)

Given the talent (and age) are the Mavs over-achieveing this season? Every game they play looks like a struggle, even against the under .500 teams.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:06 PM)

Every game has been a struggle, and thanks for the question. But overachieving at 34-28? They are the defending champs even if the roster is quite a bit different. The core group remains. No defending champ has missed the playoffs since the Bulls in 99 and that was when Jordan retired and Pippen went to play for -- who the Blazers or Rockets, I think the Rockets at that time.

jr (mp) [via mobile]

the mavs need to let this season go so the can get into the draft lotto they need to get younger at on point.they are not going to make any noise in this year playoffs they should've let the team the same as last years team they out smarted their self this year

Jeff Caplan
  (2:08 PM)

I think you're going to have a hard time convincing, Dirk, Marion, Kidd and Terry, guys like Vince Carter who came here to compete for a title that they need some college kid that they'll get at No. 13 or 14. that's not happening. They believe they can make some noise in the playoffs and maybe they can, although they aren't acting like a dangerous team. They're 14-17 since they were a season-best 20-11 way back when.

MavsFanatic (MAVS Nation)

Hey Jeff, my good friend! Do you think the Mavericks will put Vince Carter on the floor in the end of games? Personally, with how up and down his shooting is, I would rather have a great versatile defender in Marion instead. Thoughts? Hope all is well!

Jeff Caplan
  (2:10 PM)

Hello Fanatic, thanks for being here...Well, Carlisle has had a bit of knack for putting him for like a final possession situation because of his 3-point shooting as compared to Marion, who you don't want putting up a last-second bomb. But, I don't think you are going to see many situations where Carter replaces Marion for long stretches as he did at Utah where Marion was benched for the entire fourth quarter and the 3 overtimes. Marion's defense and rebounding are just too valuable, especially in the playoffs.

mike (hamburg)

will roddy only see garbage time in the playoffs?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:11 PM)

Who knows. But, Roddy has been cleared to play tonight, so the Mavs do have all bodies healthy now for he final four games. Somebody better knock on wood -- and I don't mean Haywood.

Franc (Montreal)

Howdy Cap. Despite the near-bottom standing and need to win to stay in playoff race, do you see Rick resting Dirk/JET/Marion at least once in the next week or so? I know we have a few days off before our last game in ATL, but maybe these old legs need a game off.... It might also be a good idea to play K.A. at least once so that we know what kind of reserve firepower we have come playoffs, in case someone gets injured etc... Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:12 PM)

Franc, you are right about the few days off, in fact they have four between Saturday's game at Chicago and then Thursday's finale at Atlanta. If the Mavs have a playoff spot locked up by the time they get to Chicago, which they could, you might see some skeleton lineups or at least guys playing very limited minutes. That week is a god-send to players like Jason Kidd, who could even forego the Atlanta game and have a full week or more of rest before starting the playoffs.

Deven (Dallas)

Hi Jeff. Fact or Fiction: Mavs will go as far as the first round.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:13 PM)

Well Deven, right now I would say that is fact. I wouldn't pick the Mavs to get out of the first round unless they play the Clippers. I think they could battle that team and pull out the series. Defensively, it's a good matchup in my mind because Griffin and Jordan are not great halfcourt, post-up player and their free throw shooting is atrocious.

Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)

Clearly Rick Carlisle was upset with the way Shawn Marion played on Monday night against the Jazz. Was it due to lack of rebounding or Marion getting lit up by some guy from the D-League?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:15 PM)

Hey Shawn, well, really take your pick. It was just a bad night for the Matrix, who hasn't had many this season. He didn't get a shot up in the first half and then missed his first 3 of the second half as the Mavs went to him to try to get him involved. That was the fourth game in five nights, although this late in the season and with the stakes so high it's hard to cut anybody much slack for not performing. He'll bounce back. Look for a big game from him tonight.

sahar (Israel)

why Cuban doesn't try to extend West's contract? He is a key player for our team and isn't old. Perfect guy for the min mid level contract.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:16 PM)

Sahar, Cuban is not extending anybody. The whole goal is to free cap space to sign Deron Williams and then build around that with mostly cheap labor. West, although injured for a good chunk of the season, has probably earned himself a decent raise for next season. He might cost too much for Dallas to keep. But, again, everything hinges around Deron Williams.

fares (san antonio)

mavs and spurs meet in the playoffs who wins?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:17 PM)

I would pick Spurs.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Hey bro, will you guys name names on who is glad that Odom is gone?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:17 PM)

If someone says they are glad Odom is gone then we will name names.

Jeff (Houston)

Everyone always talks about Deron Williams being plan A this offseason and Steve Nash being plan B, but has anyone given any thought to getting both and using them in a Chris Paul/Chauncy Billups situation? Wouldn't the Mavs offense be a well oiled machine with that combo controlling the flow of the game (and maybe even Kidd coming off the bench to spell them)?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:18 PM)

It might, but you're not going to be able afford both. Do you think Steve Nash is going to play for the minimum? Heck no. Now, maybe a Nash/Kidd backcourt is financially feasible.

Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)

It seems to me that a huge part of what makes Kidd so important is his ability to get Dirk the ball in his spots. Why were their several times on Sunday when Dirk and Delonte would play together, and then Kidd would come in as Dirk came out?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:20 PM)

That's up to Carlisle and his rotations. All I know is that Dirk played like 52 minutes and Kidd played 45 minutes compared to West's 27 minutes and five of that came in the third overtime when Kidd didn't play. Kidd has to get rest. West, with Roddy out, plays the 2 with Kidd and then shifts to the point when Kidd comes out. Most of the complaints earlier were that West didn't get the ball to Dirk enough or in the right spots.

Jerry (Dallas)

If the Mavs lose tonight, kiss the playoffs goodbye. Even if they beat GS, Chicago and ATL might still be playing to secure playoff seeding and home court in ATL case, and I don't see the Mavs winning either of those 2 on the road. Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:21 PM)

Jerry, you could be right on. A loss tonight would be catastrophic. I mean what hope is there if you can't beat Houston on your home floor? As for the last 2 games, it really just depends what Chicago and Atlanta are playing for. Chicago could be battling for East homecourt or for the whole thing and Atlanta could still be battling for the No. 4 seed and homecourt, which is big. Those games will be tough if those teams are playing for something. tonight is huge. I might have understated that in my column today to be honest.

David (Indiana)

The Mavs starting lineup has Kidd (39), Nowitzki (33), Marion (33), Haywood (32) and the baby of the group West (28)... then the first two guys off the bench are Terry (34) and Carter (35). Have you ever seen a team that was this old?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:22 PM)

David, probably not. The Mavs have been the oldest team in the league all year. I think Atlanta actually is their closest rival. It's pretty amazing when you look at the ages. That's why a week of rest before the playoffs will be huge for this team.

shant (Lebanon)

Assuming mavs can sign deron williams, they will need a center also, since haywood isn't consistent enough. Howard is off the table now, is there any chance they go after Chris Kaman ? I like to see him in a mavs jersey

Jeff Caplan
  (2:24 PM)

Well, I love Kaman, really do, thought Mavs should have gone after him in the past. But, how do you afford him? Haywood is under contract and if you get Deron Williams in all likelihood that means you have used the amnesty clause on Shawn Marion. So, they'd really have to figure ways to make a lot more cap space than I think they can to sign Kaman. He is at least mid-level exception guy. At least, no?

norbert (dallas)

any ideas why Rick stuck with Ian for the entire 3 OT periods? we failed to win a single tip off, which Wright would surely have been better suited for. that's an extra posession in each OT. could have come in handy...

Jeff Caplan
  (2:25 PM)

Norbert, he stuck with Ian because that group got what was a lethargic team back in the game and nearly won it. And it's interesting actually, that on Millsap's putback slam at the buzzer of regulation to tie, Dirk came out and blamed Ian for helping Kidd on Hayward's shot that missed, leaving Jefferson free down the middle. Dirk took Jefferson and that left Millsap free on the baseline to slam the rebound.

g (fort worth)

Brandon Wright has def made an impact this season. Do you think it's enough to sign him next season?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:26 PM)

g, the Mavs have team option on Brandan Wright next season for less than $1 million I believe. He will be back.

Neil (College Station)

Do you see a regular role for Roddy in the playoffs or will he just have to "be ready" It sure seems like we could use his offense.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:26 PM)

Be ready.

Dan (Dallas)

Do you see any chance Carlisle walks at the end of the season?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:27 PM)

I really don't. I can't explain the contract thing unless there is an agreement done in principle and Carlisle told Cuban that he doesn't want it announced because there are so many guys on the team right now who don't know if they'll be back. Maybe Carlisle wanted the guys to know he was with them at the end of his contract. Not sure. But, I don't expect him to go anywhere, unless he just craves a job that is or will be open.

Brad (Toronto)

Is Ray Allen a possible addition for the Mavs this summer for the MLE if Boston lets him go?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:28 PM)

Brad, yes, Ray Allen is definitely an option assumin the Mavs don't re-sign Jason Terry. The Mavs are going to need low-salary vets if D-Will comes to town. If not, they'll, I assume, try to get some young legs around Dirk.

Jeff (Houston)

Before last game, Dirk's shot had been off, and he's hinted it might be something in his mechanics. Any word on if Holger is on his way, especially with that last week before the playoffs having so many off days?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:29 PM)

Holger is pretty much always on his way. But, yes, I believe if he's not here already, he will be. Dirk shot it pretty good at Utah.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:30 PM)

All right, well looks like that does for all your questions. Another half-hour blew by. Always check espndallas.com for constant Mavs news and opinion. We'll be chatting live from the game tonight so join myself, Tim MacMahon and maybe even Jean-Jacques Taylor. Follow me on Twitter @espn_caplan.Thanks again everyone?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:30 PM)

Or make that, thanks again everyone!!