Game No. 66 will take a bit of time to get here. After 65 games in a rapid-fire schedule that clustered games in a seemingly impossible amount of time, the Dallas Mavericks will take this week to rest, practice and watch the standings.
The season finale will come Thursday night at the Atlanta Hawks, who are in position for home-court advantage in the first round against the Boston Celtics. Depending on which team the Mavs draw in the first round -- and they might not know before heading into this game -- they might not be coming home for a while.
It is possible that Dallas could face a cross-country trek to Los Angeles to face either the Lakers or Clippers when the playoffs start this weekend. Or perhaps the Mavs would make a pit stop home if the series opens in Oklahoma City or San Antonio.
All the Mavs know now is that they are in the unusual situation of sitting back with four days to rest, practice and watch the standings.
"We're going to mix in some rest and we're going to mix in work and we've got to have a plan going forward as to how we want to proceed for the last game and on into the playoffs and we'll do that," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'm not going to get into the specifics of it because right now that's not the appropriate thing to do. But it's something we've had a long time to think about and in conjunction with my trainer and my coaches we'll figure out the best thing."
It's quite possible that Jason Kidd has played his last regular-season game. Dirk Nowitzki said if he has any say in things that he wants to play Thursday. Jason Terry, who sat out Saturday's loss at Chicago, said he plans to play in front of plenty of friends when Dallas takes on his former team.
Thursday: at Atlanta Hawks (38-26), 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: FSSW/ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Hawks enter the week with two games remaining and both are at home with the Los Angeles Clippers coming in on Tuesday night. Atlanta is in position to have home-court advantage against the Boston Celtics in the first round, so this game might not mean much for either squad. If the Mavs don't know their playoff foe after Wednesday's games, don't expect Carlisle to coach the game to try to manipulate a matchup. He'll continue to coach with the goal of having his team properly prepared to begin its title defense over the weekend.