Key 1: The Dallas Mavericks are on the verge of voicing the fact that they are largely playing for pride … but the standings say they are still playing to finish undefeated and to hope for the Lakers and Jazz to be non-winning teams down the stretch … and coach Rick Carlisle has said that as long as he and owner Mark Cuban are in charge, that’s the way they’ll always approach these situations.
While we hope they don’t have too many of these situations in their futures … Immediately, Los Angeles entered the day facing four teams currently in playoff position over its final six games. And the Jazz play three playoff teams in their final five, the Mavericks maybe have it a bit easier.
Coming up: a home game against West-worst Phoenix. A couple of meetings with the 50-loss Pelican-ornets. … And tonight, a Blazers team that has lost seven straight and has done so by an average of 17 points per.
Dallas’ best solution: Play like there is still playoff hope AND play with pride.
Key 2: I’d like to see this be a get-healthy game for O.J. Mayo, who month by month this season has seen an almost systematic decline in his scoring totals. That decline has continued into this early part of April, in fact he is averaging only eight points and shooting 33.3 percent over his last five games.
But here's the potentially good news for Mayo: He averaged 25 points per while shooting 68.3 percent in the three previous Mavs games vs. Portland – and Dallas won two of three.
So, get well soon, O.J. – "soon'' meaning, like, starting tonight with the 8 p.m. tipoff.
Key 3: Move it well and shoot it well.
The Mavs are almost impossible to beat when they get 25 assists and are 6-1 when they get 30 assists, as they did Friday in Sacramento.
Meanwhile, Dallas is 19-3 when shooting 50 percent.
This is a team sometimes lacking in passing BBIQ but it’s not a selfish team. Rack up the assists!
This is also a team that sometimes takes ill-advised shots but it not without the weapons to lift that shooting percentage. Find those weapons!
The DB.com GameThread to discuss all the action is here!