DALLAS -- The Mavericks should clinch a playoff berth probably no later than Friday night with a win over the Golden State Warriors (or a Houston loss against New Orleans tonight will get the job). Once achieved, should coach Rick Carlisle then severely limit minutes in the final two or three games, or allow his team, so rarely as healthy and whole and drama-free as it is now, to continue to gear up for the playoffs?
The schedule itself, with four days off between Saturday's game at Chicago and Thursday's finale at Atlanta, provides a nice cushion for recuperation and some players are saying they'd prefer to keep putting their foot to the pedal and not let off.
Jason Kidd is the prime candidate for additional rest, but even the 39-year-old who has racked up season-high minutes throughout the last week, sounds as if sitting out games wouldn't be his first choice.
"We want to be playing our best basketball and everybody wants to be on the same page," Kidd said after his 12-point, eight-assist outing in Wednesday's win over the Rockets. "So, the more time we can get out there on the floor together with different groups of guys we feel good."
Dallas has virtually only been the team it will be in the playoffs for the last six games. April 10 at home against Sacramento was Jason Kidd's first game back after missing four with a strained groin, and it was Lamar Odom's first game gone since owner Mark Cuban sent him home.
They are 4-2 in those games and have scored at least 108 points in five but have also allowed an average of 107 points -- both thresholds being polar opposites from the majority of the season.
The Mavs could be involved in two meaningful games, at least for their opponents, to close out the season. The Bulls could still be making a run for the overall best record in the league to acquire homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Hawks could still be battling Boston and/or Orlando for the fourth seed and homecourt in the first round.
"I think we’re going to keep playing to keep the edge," Jason Terry said. "There’ll probably be a couple guys that are going to stay fresh and get rest, but I know for myself and for Dirk, we like to play it out. There’s no reason for us not to. You don’t want to lose your competitive edge or your rhythm."