The Mavericks (23-29, 11th in the West) are on the verge of missing the postseason for the first time since Dirk Nowitzki’s sophomore season in the NBA.
Making a 13th straight postseason won’t be easy for the Mavericks as they have the seventh toughest remaining strength of schedule but there’s good and bad news: the Jazz and Trailblazers have a tougher road ahead than Dallas, but the Rockets and Lakers face a much more favorable schedule.
The Mavericks got off to a 13-23 start and only five teams gave up more points per 100 possessions through January 9. Since then, they’ve won 10 of 16 and rank fourth in offensive efficiency and first in turnover percentage.
If the Mavericks are to make their way into the seventh or eighth spot, don’t expect them to put up much of a fight in the first round as they are 1-9 against the top four teams in the West. They have five games remaining against those teams featuring a 13-day stretch that includes the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers.
From 2009-11, crunch time (last five minutes of 4th quarter/overtime, score within five points) wasn’t an issue for the Mavericks winning nearly 70 percent of those games while completely outshooting the opposition. Over the last two seasons, Dallas has won just 45 percent of those games and has been outscored by 16 points.