Time Running Out On Mavs’ Playoff Streak


DALLAS — It appears that Dirk is back and the Dallas Mavericks are done.

In consecutive games, Dirk Nowitzki has put up a combined 51 points and 33 rebounds, yet his team squandered fourth-quarter leads at home in both. Sunday’s loss to the Lakers felt like a gut punch; Tuesday’s 95-90 loss to Milwaukee, with Nowitzki going for 21 points and 20 rebounds — his first 20-20 game in a decade — was like a dagger to Dallas’ diminishing playoff hopes.

A 14-4 closing run by the Bucks sealed the game and just might have finished the Mavs’ franchise-record streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances, the second-longest active streak behind the San Antonio Spurs (15 in a row).

“Yeah, I mean, it’s not looking good for sure,” Nowitzki said, his beard growing thicker as .500 drifts farther from Dallas’ reach. “Obviously this league is crazy and I’ve seen a lot, but this is definitely getting tight, and if we want to make a push we’ve just go to find a way to win those close games.”

With its 20-turnover loss Tuesday, Dallas (25-31, now five games behind eighth-place Houston) ended a critical stretch of seven of eight games at home. They went 4-3 there with their lone win over a winning team coming against sliding Golden State. Losses to Atlanta, the Lakers and Milwaukee came by four, four and five points, respectively. Late-game execution, an Achilles’ heel all season, was the culprit in each crushing defeat.

Nowitzki, who saw his All-Star Game streak snapped this season at 11 in a row, knows his chances of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000 are rising.

Now comes a stretch of seven of their next eight games on the road, starting tonight at red-hot Memphis (8 ET, League Pass).

“If we can’t pull it out at home, then what’s the confidence level going on the road?” Nowitzki said. “We’ve got eight of our next 10 on the road, so we haven’t shown that we really can consistently pull close games out at home, so it’s going to be tough on the road. We’re going to try, I mean I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, keep pushing and hopefully one of these days we can pull one out and it can get us going.”

Prior to the game, owner Mark Cuban acknowledged that this season has been his toughest. After the game, coach Rick Carlisle, hoping to avoid only his second losing season in his 11th as a  coach, tried to drum up optimism.

He stressed that the Mavs haven’t been able to sustain intensity and focus to finish off games. Asked if he believed that can change on the road (where Dallas is 9-19), a mostly soft-spoken Carlisle perked up.

“Listen, we’re due, we’re due,” he said. “Nobody in this league has set themselves up for most improved more than us. Really, I’m going to keep believing in these guys, all right? That’s not going to change. My enthusiasm’s not going to change. What has to change is decision-making on the floor, and I’ll keep perusing the whole thing and I’ll figure out what I got to do.

“Maybe I’ve got to sub a little differently, I don’t know. But whatever it is, we’ve got another game in 22 hours and I’m fired up for that one.”

Hopefully his team is, too.


  1. Charles Big C Caldwell says:

    I still beleive in the Mavs,this is a long season, things happen all the time, if we give up, we’ve already lost, lets go for it and if we don’t make the playoffs, oh well, we have to rebuild anyway but, we make too many mistakes on the floor, I.E. against LA on Sunday, a player comes in the game in the fourth quater and get an imediate turnover, won’t work in the NBA especially against a shark like Kobe Bryant.

  2. Stu Brew says:

    This is disappointing. I hope Dirk gets one more ring before he retires. I wish they would’ve kept Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Tyson Chandler. Hopefully Mark Cuban makes some serious free agency moves this summer since he kind of lacked that in the last offseason.

  3. maverick6283 says:

    it’s really frustrating that this team keeps on losing as of the moment. dirk is getting older and it is really going to be a waste if they continue to lose especially with his talent. i hope that they can once again create a solid supporting cast for dirk in order to get back on winning. i really want dirk to end his career in dallas but if this team continue to lose i’d rather see him traded to another team coz he deserves to win at least another ring. why not trade him to chicago in exchange with boozer. just an idea though. 🙂

  4. HMH says:

    They were already out of time when they traded away key players (e.g., Chandler, Barea) from their championship squad. For a rich dude, Cuban sure was a penny pincher when it came to defending their hard-fought and long-sought NBA championship. Once you have great team chemistry, why mess around with it? You can’t expect to throw any new players around your superstars and expect them to achieve the same level of success. Just look at the Mavs (and Lakers!!!) now….

  5. big man 7 foot 2 says:

    If I were the spurs i’d trade some of those strong bench pieces for dirk , he would fit perfectly on the spurs . dejuan blair , nando de colo and and boris diaw for the big man dirk nowitzki

    • dirk45 says:

      Dirk will not leave Dallas. We will see what Cuban has up his sleeve this summer. But I’m disappointed by the way that Mayo disappears the better Dirk plays again. And Collison is too inconsistent to be any help. Looks like I’ll have to rout for the Houston Rockets, now that they signed Ohlbrecht. But still an MFFL.

  6. Kamote says:

    It’s over with Dallas. Though I’m sad Dirk is not gonna win another ring again (unless he gets traded to another contender, but not LA for chrissakes), that championship run was as good as it gets, and Dirk will be an HOF player (by changing the game as a 7ft guy shooting everywhere).

    Time to rebuild.