After a heroic, defiant, #NeverEverQuit 23 point comeback against the 23-win Denver Nuggets Friday night, the Mavericks (31-28) will welcome the very, very talented but very, very bad Minnesota Timberwolves (19-40).
The Mavericks will look to add another W in the win column against a team that’s begging for them to gain ground in the secondary Western Conference Playoffs race. Dallas needed a crazy end-of-second-most-of-third-quarter to erase a giant Nuggets lead and go to 2-1 so far on their six game home stand.
On the other side of the court, Minnesota is obviously rebuilding with the last two Number One Picks in their starting lineup. Aside from Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns there is plenty of other intriguing talent on Minnesota. Like back-to-back Dunk Contest champion Zach LaVine(even though Aaron Gordon was robbed), Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad and who the heck knows what Ricky Rubio is at this point.
The Timberwolves didn’t trade any of their veterans like Nikola Pekovic or Kevin Martin at the Trade Deadline but have agreed to buyouts with Martin and also Andre Miller, both of whom are expected to sign with the San Antonio Spurs. A team lacking parts is only whittling away at its roster as it prepares for more team building (and losses) down the season’s final stretch.
With another high lottery pick on the way, Minnesota is on the tough, rocky but right road to rebuilding. And the Mavericks are in the middle…has we have so heavily detailed this season. I mean, 31-28 speaks for itself.
Even still, the Mavericks find themselves in a heated Western Conference race for 5th place. Currently headed by the Memphis Grizzlies by four games, it’s popular opinion that they will slip without the services of All-Star big man Marc Gasol for the rest of the season. It’s very early since the injury but since Gasol went down on February 8th Memphis has actually expanded upon their then-three game lead.
If Dallas wants that 5th spot, they have to beat bad teams. Something they should be doing anyway with Denver in the rear view mirror, Minnesota on target (get it?) and Orlando on deck.
The Mavericks have been frustrating lately to say the least, and needed overtime to knock off Denver Friday and Minnesota the last time they played. Maybe they need a Jackie Moon inspired speech to reach 4th 5th place!