It’s okay to laugh, we’re outperforming Golden State in April, so laugh a little. It’s good for the ticker.
After starting March 3-10, the Mavericks ended the very, very forgettable month with two wins and opened April with a win in Detroit on Friday night. Dallas has won three straight in the year’s most critical time as they battle with Utah and Houston for the final two Playoff spots in the unusually bad Western Conference this season.
A month ago it was about catching Memphis for 5th, half a month ago it was about finishing 6th and avoiding a Round One death match with either Golden State or San Antonio. Now it’s just about getting in…for Dirk. Or just getting in.
As Deron Williams put it back on March 20th…
We owe it to him.
The 37-year old has once again been the Mavericks best player four seasons after Mark Cuban started a fool’s conquest to sign a marquee Free Agent. Instead we got role players but thankfully Dirk Nowitzki has left Father Time waiting at the door yet again.
Today the Mavericks play the Minnesota Timberwolves, a bit fitting as J.J. Barea heads back to the only other team he’s ever played for in the midst of a career year, or a career week of basketball to be more specific, though he also had a similar stretch just before New Years earlier this season. Not to mention J.J. and his wife Paulina had a beautiful baby girl early Friday…and my mom delivered her!
With Deron Williams out, J.J. Barea has saved the Mavericks behind the past week plus. Since March 23rd, he’s averaging an incredible 20.3 PPG along with 5.8 assists 2.8 rebounds and is shooting 52% from the field as well as a crazy good 47% from three-point range.
Reminiscent of the Lakers and Heat series from the magical 2011 run, Barea is simply en fuego right now, and the Mavericks need every bit of it as they fight for the right to participate in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
The unfortunate part of things is that the Portland Trail Blazers just swept a four-game home stand and have maintained a 2.5 game advantage on the 6th spot ahead of Dallas and Utah who are tied for 7th while Houston is just a game further away in 9th place. The team that misses out will not be Portland, who is now just .5 game behind Memphis for 5th.
After the Timberwolves, Dallas faces direct competition in their final five games of another tumultuous season for Rick Carlisle and co. Thankfully he’s our Coach, or we’re nowhere close to where we are this season, last season and the two prior as he’s been presented with backup plan rosters again and again.
The schedule after today is vs. Houston (currently 9th), vs. Memphis (5th), at the Clippers (4th), at Utah (T-7th with us) and finally San Antonio (2nd). Everything in the home court advantage portion (1st-4th) is pretty locked in, but 5, 6, 7 and 8 are all up in the air. Which would be exciting if it wasn’t killing us.
First things first, the Timberwolves may be 25-51 but they are young, athletic and will run on you. All present problems for an older Mavericks team, but Minnesota’s talented but novice roster has been a winnable opponent for Dallas this season as the Mavs will look to clean sweep the season series this afternoon.
The Mavericks visit the Timberwolves at 2:30 today. The Rockets host OKC today at the same time while Utah visits Phoenix at 5 PM. #ScoreboardWatching