DALLAS -- It happens almost every year. Teams tank games late in the season to try to manipulate the playoff matchups, attempting to avoid a team they’d prefer not to face or targeting a matchup they consider favorable.
The Mavs insist they won’t do that in the final week of the regular season. Never mind that the Lakers, who would be the Mavs’ first-round foe if the playoff started now, swept the season series.
“The approach is to play well and win,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It seems to me like when you do that, it’s karmically the right thing to do. We’re not going to play guys crazy minutes or anything like that. We’re going to do things in the right spirit of the process we feel is right for us to get ready to play. The whole thing about wishing for this team or not wishing for that team, that’s dicey.”
Note that Carlisle did not promise to play all the Mavs’ veterans in their final three games. He isn’t revealing plans, but it’s a pretty good bet that Jason Kidd will sit out at least one of the final two games.
That’d be fine with owner Mark Cuban.
“I’m all for strategically resting, because you don’t get judged or you don’t get rewarded for your record in the last five games of the season,” said Cuban, who maintains that nobody in the West playoff picture fears anyone else. “There’s no benefit there. If things don’t work out for whatever reason, people don’t say, ‘Well, at least you didn’t rest guys the last five games.’ Everyone wants to get ready for the playoffs in the best possible position.”
But the purpose of resting Kidd and perhaps other veterans wouldn’t be to manipulate the seedings. It’d be to make sure that the Mavs are as well prepared as possible to peak in the playoffs.