The Dallas Mavericks are currently the 7th seed in the western conference and are 1.5 GB from the 6th and 5th seed. They are 2.5 from the 4th seed. As of now, they would face the LA Clippers in the first round.
The ideal situation for the Dallas Mavericks before the playoffs begin:
With each team playing 8 games before the end of the season, the Mavericks can possibly move up all the way to the 4th seed if everything goes their way. If the Mavs want to make a deep run in the playoffs, they need to do all they can to avoid the LA Clippers in round 1. Making it to the 4th seed is unlikely, but the Mavericks best chance at getting past round 1 is moving up to the 6th seed where they would at the moment play the Denver Nuggets. The Mavs are 2-1 against the Denver Nuggets this year, including their last game before the NBA Hiatus where the Mavs won 113-97. The only loss against the Nuggets was only by one point. In other words, the Mavs have had success against the Nuggets this year and they are a great matchup for them. If the Mavs can move up to the 6th seed, it would be great for them since the Nuggets wouldn't have home court advantage considering there are no fans and the games are played in Orlando, and the Mavs might have success against Denver like they have in the regular season.
3 Key Players for Postseason Success:
This should go with out saying, but Luka is the best player on the Dallas Mavericks and he needs to be on his A game for the Mavs to make a run. He averaged 28.7 Points, 9.3 Rebounds, and 8.7 Assists, nearly a triple-double in the regular season. If he can bring the same success into the playoffs, he can be a force. This will be Luka's first playoff appearance in the NBA, however he has a lot more experience in the playoffs than most NBA players. In the Euro League, Luka led his team to a championship and won Final Four MVP and Playoff MVP, the same year he won Euro League MVP, all at the young age of 19! Something tells me that Luka shouldn't have troubles in high-pressure moments. He could be dangerous to opposing teams.
2. Kristaps Porzingis
Porzingis has had a great year coming off his injury which he suffered when he was apart of the New York Knicks, and it's scary to think that he could be even better than what he was this year. KP averaged 19.2 Points and 9.5 Rebounds, but what really sets him apart from other Power Forwards and Centers is his 3 point shooting and blocking ability. KP averaged 2.1 BLKs and shot 35 percent from three-point range, but he can hit the three from anywhere. His defense and shooting will be key to the Mavericks during the postseason.
3. Boban Marjanovic
Now I know you think I'm crazy by putting Boban in this list, but hear me out. He only played about 9 minutes a game during the season, but he was very productive when he was on the court. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds, but again only on 9 minutes. He could rack up a double-double very quickly when he was on the court and I am really surprised that Rick Carlisle didn't use him more. But here is why I think he will be key in the playoffs, Boban started the last game of the season before the hiatus against the Nuggets and he finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds! I think this opened up Rick Carlisle eyes and if the Mavericks do play the Nuggets, I think you can expect more minutes for Boban considering he was able to limit Nikola Jokic. I think Boban will be a sneaky weapon for the Mavericks in the postseason.
One thing that the Mavericks have to fix for the playoffs:
The Mavericks have the number one offense in the league statistically and are very successful on that end and can play good defense, however the Mavs struggle in the fourth quarter and close games. The Mavericks have lost many games because of their fourth quarter woes. Two games I specifically remember was a game against the Lakers and a game against the Pacers. In the Lakers game, the Mavs were leading late and they allowed the Lakers to catch up to them and Danny Green shot a game-tying three pointer to force overtime, where the Mavs lost. In the Pacers games, the Mavs were up 6 with about 2 minutes left and they allowed an 8-0 run and ended up losing the game. If the Mavericks want to have postseason success, they have got to fix their mistakes in the crunch time.
If the Mavericks can get an ideal playoff position and the key players can perform to their highest abilities, you can expect the Mavericks to be a dangerous out. Rick Carlisle has won an NBA championship and knows how to get there, Luka won a championship in Europe and understands what pressure the playoff games bring, and the Mavericks have a scary offense and can score the ball well on the other teams. If they can fix their fourth quarter/ crunch time woes, it shouldn't be a surprise if the Mavs have postseason success. They have all the right ingredients of a championship caliber team, now they just need to put it all together.
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