Mavs Seek To Shave Closer To 8th Spot

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HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – Omar the Barber will be in the house Thursday night as the Dallas Mavericks take on the Indiana Pacers, the Mavs’ first attempt at reaching .500 since they were 12-13 in what seems like an eternity ago.

You might recall — and if you’ve seen Dirk Nowitzki lately you can’t forget — that some of the Mavs made a pact nearly two months ago not to shave until they reach .500. At the time it seemed a futile attempt to drum up motivation. Yet here they are, not only a whisker shy of breaking even at 35-36, but actually surging toward the No. 8 seed, having won nine of their last 12.

After a rousing overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night, Mavs guard O.J. Mayo, whose beard isn’t quite yet Harden-esque but maddeningly itchy all the same mentioned that tickets will be left for Omar, the team’s favored barber, and his shears.

“I want to make sure he does it right. I don’t want to leave no patches,” said Mayo. “I haven’t done anything [to it], just kind of lined my mustache up a little bit, but letting it go. I’ve got hair up here and I’m ready to shave it, man.”

Nowitzki, who hasn’t finished a season below .500 since his second season in the NBA when the Mavs went 40-42 in 1999-2000, has guided Dallas to the playoffs in each of the last 12 seasons. But he was superstitious and not so keen about mentioning bringing in the barber before actually getting the shave-worthy win.

“I don’t really want to jinx it, but I’m ready to get this thing off,” said Nowitzki, who has not even trimmed his neckline. “That’s a big outing for us Thursday against a very good, tough team from the Eastern Conference.”

Nowitzki does have a point. Which team will be more motivated: The Mavs, knowing the barber’s in the building? Or the Pacers, knowing the barber’s in the building?

Indiana (45-27) has its own issues, like a battle for the all-important second seed in the East with the New York Knicks. They’re virtually tied in the standings, but the Pacers have one more loss. Finishing second means avoiding the Miami Heat until the East finals rather than in the second round.

The Mavs know they just have to keep winning with 11 games to go and hope the Los Angeles Lakers (hit with Wednesday’s news that Metta World Peace will miss at least six weeks with a knee injury) and Utah Jazz, both winners Wednesday night and both just a hair ahead of Dallas, lose along the way.

If the Mavs have anything going in their favor tonight it’s that the Pacers — 20-point winners over Dallas back in November at their place — played Wednesday night, beating the Rockets at Houston, 100-91.

The Mavs, a rather pedestrian 21-14 at home, are, however, 12-2 at home against opponents playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and have won eight consecutive such matchups dating to Nov. 24 when Dallas dropped to .500 at 7-7.

With a win Thursday night, Dallas would pull even with ninth-place and idle Utah. The eighth-place Lakers play the second night of a back-to-back at Milwaukee, so a Mavs win combined with a Lakers loss would reduce L.A.’s lead to a half-game over both the Jazz and Mavs.

Of those three teams, the Mavs have played the best in March. Utah, after dropping to 3-12 since the trade deadline with a loss at Dallas on Sunday, has since won two in a row.

Which team has the upper hand down the stretch? A breakdown:

No. 8 LAKERS (37-35)

Home games left: 6 (23-12)

Road games left: 4 (14-23)

Games against current playoff teams: 6

Key game and why: vs. Dallas (Tuesday); critical in standings and would lock up tiebreaker

Toughest stretch: Tuesday – April 10 (vs. Dallas, vs. Memphis, at Clippers, vs. New Orleans, at Portland)

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No. 9 JAZZ (36-36)

Home games left: 6 (26-9)

Road games left: 4 (10-27)

Games against current playoff teams: 5

Key game and why: at Portland (Friday); would extend win streak to three leading into four-game homestand

Toughest stretch: Wednesday – April 9 (vs. Denver, vs. New Orleans, at Golden State, vs. Oklahoma City)

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No. 10 MAVERICKS (35-36)

Home games left: 6 (21-14)

Road games left: 5 (14-22)

Games against current playoff teams: 6

Key game and why: at Lakers (Tuesday); critical in standings and would tie season series

Toughest stretch: Tuesday – April 7 (at Lakers, at Denver, at Sacramento, at Portland)

28 Comments

  1. MAVSFANFORLIFE!! says:

    No one seems to know the Mavs here. The more pressure they get the more they produce. This is a crucial time for the Mavs and there playoff streak is on the line. If anyone has not noticed… Dirk Nowitzki is the best when it come to these situations. For example, in 2011 in Game 3 against the thunder in the conference finals the Mavs where down by 20 with 6 minutes to go and Dirk pick them up and we won the game! and we would eventually win the FINALS! #2011NBACHAMPS! So stop hating on Dirk and cheer on the Mavs! #YOLOSWAG #MAVS2013PLAYOFFS

  2. Odyseuss says:

    Man – seems you dont know Nowitzki! As more pressure he has as better he gets! The Mavs will make 8th If the Lakers cant increase their chemistry to the end. In Fact the Mavs have the best coach of that three. I see no Chance for the Jazz. Mavs or Lakers. i say 56% to 44% for the Mavs!

  3. hmm says:

    even though the jazz own the tiebreaker, it doesn’t mean much. don’t forget how poorly they’ve been playing as of late. 4-6 the last ten games isn’t going to get it done. it’s really just between the mavs and lakers.

  4. Big Al says:

    All Lakers starters have had their share of injuries this season, with World Peace being the latest victim. There hasn’t been a time this year when he, Kobe, Dwight, Pau and Nash were at 100% simultaneously. It is really a tough time for them, only holding on to 8th spot. Having the top two-guard and center in the league, much more was expected from the gold and purple. Dallas and Utah are catching up fast, with the latter gaining an advantage in case they end up with a tie with LA becuase they won their head-to-head series.

    The Lakers will still be the more entertaining team to watch among the three. They’re likely to face the Spurs in the first round and it is not impossible to cause an upset, as evidenced by Memphis managing the feat against that team two years ago. Let’s just hope that Metta is able to come back very soon, so in the meantime, everyone just has to step up.

  5. Tkam555 says:

    This is nonsense! Who cares? All i need is Sekou Smith posting about the heat’s streak! Where is he today?

  6. Person says:

    The race for the 8th and final playoff spot will be interesting. Utah has been struggling as of late and have the toughest schedule left of these 3 teams. LA just lost a key player when World Peace hurt his knee. Dallas is playing very good baskeball as of late. I’m a Lakers fan and right now the team I’m most worried of is the Mavericks. I’m going to be watching that Tuesday night game against Dallas hoping we can win the game and the tie breaker. These last 10 games are gonna be the most intense.

    • Person says:

      Not to mention if LA wins Tuesday more pressure builds on Mavs to win more games due to Utah AND Lakers owning the tiebreaker

  7. W/E says:

    Man Nowitzki looks like a homeless bum, i guess hes under too much pressure to make it to the playoffs, his grey hair are so messed up, he wakes up and goes straight to the court for practice, hes career is finished he will retire soon.

    • Mo says:

      You obviously don’t watch the mavs games. Stupid. Dirk is playing great and so are the mavs winning 9-12 last games.

  8. Ruffa Kate? says:

    Lakers will get the 8th spot and will exit in the 1st round.

  9. Kevbot says:

    Jazz WILL be in the eighth spot. Mark my words.

  10. yotu says:

    If the Mavs want to win a championship again, it’s very easy, just redo the team that won it 2 years ago. Here are the easy steps, Mark:
    1) Go to NY and say I’m $orry to the players with numbers in the back 5 and 6.
    2) Then go to Boston and say I’m $orry to the player with the number in the back 4.
    3) Then to Minesota, and the same, I’m $orry to the player with the 11.
    Finally learn the lesson:
    [If something is working…. don’t try to fix it.]

    • ko0kie says:

      Jason Kidd and Jason Terry are too old now… and Dirk is not the same player he was 2 years ago.

  11. Chris says:

    Carlisle is a great coach and Nowitski is a great team leader. I see no reason why the Mavs can’t make the playoffs less the Lakers, warriors and rockets lose absolutely NO games

    • Mark says:

      Why mention the Rockets and Warriors? They’re going to make the playoffs even if they lose a few games.
      The teams the Mavs are going against for the 8th seed are the Lakers and Jazz, and unfortunately for them, they’re in a tough spot with the Jazz owning the tie-breaker and the Lakers currently up 2-1.

  12. joozo89 says:

    What about Vince? Is he finally going to cut his beard?

  13. Bill says:

    What this article fails to mention is that Utah holds the tiebreaker over both the Lakers and the Mavs. With how close this is going to be, having those tiebreakers just may be the advantage that puts Utah through.

  14. AM says:

    I don’t see the point of Jeff here, where he says that if the Pacers finish second they will avoid the heat in the second round. Their battle is with the Knicks, either way they are going to finish second or third and avoid them….

    • miami heat says:

      in the format should play

    • miami heat says:

      1 vs 8
      2 vs 7
      3 vs 6
      4 vs 5
      winner of 1 or 8 will play winner in 4 or 5 in the 2nd round
      winner of 2 or 7 will play winner in 3 or 6 in the 2nd round
      thats the point of jeff kaplan..

      • miami heat says:

        or winner of 1 and 8 will play winner of 3 and 6 in the 2nd round
        then winner of 2 and will play winner of 4 and 5 in the 2nd round

      • Person says:

        He is trying to point out is that Indiana ad New York are battling for homecourt in the second round if they face each other

      • well... says:

        No, that shouldn’t be the point because then he wouldn’t be telling the whole truth. Miami has the 1 seed locked up, so the team it will play is the 8 seed. Miami might play the 4 or the 5 seed depending on the winner of that series. The 2, 3, 6, and 7 seeds won’t face Miami until the eastern conference finals. If you really want to not play the Heat there are FOUR ways to do it. The only advantage of the 2 seed is that it comes with 2 rounds of guaranteed home court advantage. This might be Mr. Caplan’s point, but he never elaborates.

    • jono says:

      i thought the same thing