Dallas Mavericks Playoff Preview; First Round vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
With the 2016 NBA playoffs now underway, let’s take a look at this year’s Dallas Mavericks Playoff Preview.
In the last 10 years, only six different NBA franchises have won championships – one of them being the Dallas Mavericks. Of those six, five of them are in the playoffs this year – one of them being the Dallas Mavericks. In what could be Dirk’s last stand, the Mavs are slated at 125/1 to win the West.
The Dallas Mavericks will be gunning for their first opening-round playoff series victory since claiming the NBA championship in 2011 when they kick off the postseason against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
The Mavs, by almost every account, were not supposed to make the playoffs. In fact, before the season, it was said they would be one of the worst, if not the worst, teams in the NBA. And then, instead, the season went pretty much like every post-championship season: an odds and sods roster anchored by Dirk Nowitzki overachieves and refuses to let the franchise bottom out.
One of the things the Mavericks have going for them is they have had to win their way into this postseason party. There was no resting or relaxing and just easing into it.
They were three games below .500 three weeks ago and had to go 7-2 down the stretch to ensure their inclusion in the playoffs. Being battle tested will not be a problem for the Dallas Mavericks.
They haven’t beaten OKC this year, but OKC also hasn’t seen this version of the team. Maybe it works. I do know that Carlisle will be facing a rookie NBA coach, Billy Donovan, who hasn’t really put his stamp on the team, unless you count ‘Not Being Scott Brooks’ as a stamp. If we are talking chess matches — and it’s the playoffs, and no one has come up with a better cliche yet, so we are — Carlisle gives the Mavs a big edge.
This is simple. Even at 37, almost 38, The Big German is the Mavs’ biggest hope. If he conjures up some vintage one-legged fade-aways and deep bend threes, and he has at various points this season, then they have a chance. He is the heart of the squad in every possible way.
However, it’s probably asking too much of Dirk. Last year, when the playoffs rolled around, he just didn’t have it in him and it’s really hard to blame him. He doesn’t owe anyone anything. But the Warriors won 73 games and Kobe Bryant scored 60 (on 50 shots, God bless) so this season is already crazy. Maybe it could get crazier.
Can the Mavericks Make Noise?
Almost every year in the NBA, one of the lower seeds pulls off an upset. That may be a little tougher this year in the West, where the top four teams seemed to be head and shoulders better than anybody else. But if you’re looking at the teams trying to shock the world, the Mavericks probably look as good as any of the four teams starting the playoffs on the road.