Sure, the Dallas Mavericks produced an epic victory Monday night. Whipping the Denver Nuggets gave the inside track on the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs.
But that momentum, that achievement - that seeding - could all be lost in the next 48 hours. Tonight the Mavs visit the Memphis Grizzlies in a FedEx Forum in which they've lost their last three games. And tomorrow night in American Airlines Center they host East elite Orlando. A split is crucial; a 0-for-2 could prove deadly.
The Mavs have a 1/2-game lead on Utah and are 1 up on Phoenix. I think Denver's slide and schedule and the fact that Mavs have the tiebreaker essentially yank them out of the race. In their last seven games the reeling Nuggets play Portland, the Lakers, San Antonio and the Suns.
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For Dallas to feel secure about nailing down No. 2 down the stretch it needs to go ...
6-2. Chalk up wins at home over Oklahoma City, Memphis, at Sacramento and at the Clippers. That means Dallas needs to go 2-2 at Memphis, vs. Orlando, at Portland and vs. San Antonio.
Doable. Very doable.
If When accomplished, it would force the Jazz and/or Suns to finish out their schedules with just one loss. The beauty of that scenario? Utah and Phoenix face each other on April 14, the final night of the regular season.