Dallas Mavericks

Mav. Wrecks.

Four straight losses. Four spots dropped in the standings. A four-game, East Coast road trip looming that ends at Detroit and Boston.

Mark Cuban even lost his request for Denver's J.R. Smith to be disciplined by the league for throwing an elbow at Antoine Wright.

In short, not a good week for your Dallas Mavericks.

And it could only get worse.

I warned you last week not to be fooled by the Mavs' 22-13 record. It was compiled against crappy teams, including a six-game stretch against basically the NBA's Washington Generals. Don't look now, but Dallas is now 22-17 and, yep, headed the wrong direction.

Utah comes calling tomorrow night. Then then the killer trip. In all, the Mavs' play nine road games before March, all against teams seeded 9th or higher in their conference. It's conceivable - likely? - the Mavs are below .500 by the time we turn the calendar. And how will they begin February? At Orlando.

With Josh Howard inconsistent in his presence and his production, and absolutely zero impact from two front-line players they were heavily counting on - Jerry Stackhouse and DeSagana Diop - the Mavs have come to this: Most night it's Dirk Nowitzki starting alongside four other guys whose combined average points to add up to his.

Bottom line: The Mavs are at the tail end of nine teams fighting for eight playoff spots in the Western Conference.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt