Mavs Spotlight: Ramping up for a second-half playoff push
Ramping up for a second-half playoff push
DALLAS — Coming into play following the All-Star break, the Dallas Mavericks know they have plenty of ground to make up in order to fight back into playoff positioning.
Winning four of their last six games entering Wednesday night, the Mavericks (23-29) will try to continue their upward trend as they sprint towards the finish line, welcoming in the same Orlando Magic squad they outlasted for a 111-105 road win back on Jan. 20. And as they enter the unofficial second half of the season while looking to make a postseason push, the Mavs will try to close the gap between themselves and Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings, sitting with 30 games remaining and currently on the outside looking in at three games back in the loss column.
“We know it’s 30 games. We know it’s important. We know each game is important. And after that you have to take one game at a time, because you can’t win games six, seven and eight if you don’t win the first one,” eight-time All-Star and sixth man Vince Carter said. “We have to take care of business. We can’t look past any game or any team. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter who we’re playing, because we have to win them. It has to be done. We have to find a way regardless of what our opponent's jersey says.”
“We’re going to have to go day to day,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle added. “And it’s not the second half, it’s the last 30 games. So we’re down to the last little more than a third of the season, and we're just going to have to go whistle to whistle.”
The Mavs hope to remain focused on tackling one game at a time as they begin their track up the standings. That same day-by-day approach will be necessary as the team looks to close out the month of February strong before playing a season-high 16 games during March, including six of their first seven on the road.
And with a road-heavy schedule looming, the Mavericks will try to charge forward led by a healthy Dirk Nowitzki, after the 11-time All-Star missed 29 games due to injury during the team’s first 52 outings.
“Obviously, we gave a lot of games away (in the first half of the season); close ones that we felt like we should have had when I was out and when I was back,” Nowitzki said. “Just not finding really the right groove at the end of the games to really execute at both ends of the floor and get those wins, so it’s been frustrating. I thought we played better the last month or so before the break, but still not good enough to pull some of those close ones out, especially on the road. So we’ve got to get better down the stretch, especially to get those wins on the road. We’ve been doing decent at home. We’ve been beating some teams at home. But, you know, if we really want to make a push at the playoffs, we’ve got to find a way to win big games on the road.”
Note: The Mavs return to action Wednesday night at home against the Orlando Magic. The Mavs lead the season series between the two teams after a 111-105 win in Orlando back on Jan. 20. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
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