Tonight the Mavericks played the Jazz in Utah, entering the game 7th in the Western Conference. Behind them by one perfectly linear game were the Jazz. The winner plays on with a chance to avoid Golden State or San Antonio, the loser likely finishes 8th or perhaps 9th.
Going into Monday, Portland was in 5th, .5 game ahead of Memphis in 6th, a game ahead of the Mavericks in 7th who were a game ahead of 8th place Utah who had a game lead on 9th place Houston.
Portland and Memphis were idle tonight while Houston routed the Timberwolves in Minnesota.
The Blazers finish favorably at home Wednesday against Denver, Memphis visits the Clippers tomorrow and then plays the most difficult game of the year Wednesday in Golden State as the Warriors go for an NBA record 73 wins. Houston hosts the Kings Wednesday, Utah will play in L.A. against the Lakers on Wednesday and the Mavs will also play in the regular season’s final night, welcoming the San Antonio Spurs in less than 48 hours.
Every year there are so many games we want back, and this is why they all count. With just one game to go, seeds 5-9 are up in the air in the Western Conference.
Conversely, seeds 1-4 are locked up and Golden State is the only one with something to play with, which means Dallas could play a resting Spurs team Wednesday while Portland, Houston and Utah will all play eliminated teams. Houston will play an eliminated team that’s also resting players, because the Kings are run as well Trump’s PR department.
Oh, in case you wanted me to explain the tiebreaker rules in the NBA, i’ll let the NBA do it for me. Because it gets pretty convoluted and would likely come down to the team’s record in-division, where everyone but Portland has won 7 or 8 games. Just click the link.
Anyway, Monday. Houston won, two (POR/MEM) were off and the other two were facing their direct competition.
The Mavericks and Jazz both knew the importance of this game. At this point in the season you’re playing a lot of Playoff games before the Playoffs start, and this was absolutely one of them. Unfortunately for Utah, they are tied with Philly and Milwaukee for the youngest team in the NBA (24.3) while only San Antonio is older than Dallas’ 29.7 average. Utah’s oldest player is Joe Ingles at 28.
That absolutely showed tonight as Dallas secured the win over Utah in 2015-16’s penultimate game for each squad. Getting the Jazz situation out of the way, they will finish either 8th or 9th and do not have the tiebreaker with the Rockets (conference record).
Dallas also has Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavericks…will be in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. The worst they can do is 7th, the best is 5th. They won’t play Golden State, which is awesome because even though the 1-8 upset narrative would have been crazy, they would sweep us by a total sum of 100 points.
Assuming Dallas beats the resting Spurs Wednesday…
The Mavs can finish 5th if Portland somehow loses at home to Denver and Memphis loses to either the Clippers or Warriors as the Mavericks hold the season series tiebreaker over both.
7th would happen if they lose Wednesday or neither Memphis or Portland lose.
6th seems most likely and would be an incredible achievement (making the Playoffs already is to some for this team) and happens if Portland wins and Golden State beats Memphis to set the all-time wins record.
Portland losing at home to Denver with so much at stake seems unimaginable.
In any regard, Dallas is Playoff bound for the 15th time in 16 years.
Mavs Win. Mavs Win.