Texas-sized playoff preview
San Antonio Spurs (50-31) at Dallas Mavericks (54-27)
That's because with a Mavericks' win, the two Southwest Division rivals will meet again in the first round of the Western Conference postseason bracket beginning this weekend. If the Mavs do come out victorious in the regular season finale on Fan Appreciation Night, the team will secure the No. 2 seed in the playoff picture, also cementing the Spurs in the seventh slot. Otherwise the Mavericks might be looking at a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that defeated Dallas three of the four games played between the squads this season.
"(The Spurs) are going to be ready. At the same time, we know what we have to do," forward Shawn Marion said.
It's simple math, according to sixth man Jason Terry. One win, and you meet the team you beat two of the first three meetings this season. One win, and you meet the same franchise that you handed a 4-1 series loss in last season's opening round.
"It's good to know that this is the possible matchup," Terry said. "We know each other very well. We know them and they know us. We're not going to trick each other."
But the stakes are high for the team from Big D. If the Southwest champs lose and Utah defeats Phoenix, then Dallas will fall to the three seed. So, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle says his team is definitely placing extra importance on the matter at hand.
"We want to win the game...We're approaching it as an important regular season game, which it is. We want to win it," the coach said.
For point guard Jason Kidd, the approach is not to be concerned with what may or may not happen on Wednesday night. The future Hall of Famer will not be scoreboard watching, and he isn't worried about whether the team meets San Antonio or Portland in the first round. Kidd's focus is merely on running the team's winning streak to five, entering the postseason on a high note.
"For us, we don't have to worry about who we're playing (in the first round). We've just got to stick to the game plan...We're playing pretty well right now," Kidd said.
After sweeping a three-game West Coast road trip, Kidd and the Mavs return to the American Airlines Center to bring the regular season to a close against the Spurs on Wednesday night. Dallas leads the season series with the Spurs 2-1. The game will air locally on KTXA and KTXA HD at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Then the attention turns to the postseason, with the team hosting an opening round playoff series on either Saturday or Sunday.
Note: Mavs.com introduces a new, interactive broadcast entitled "Technical Foul," hosted by Mavs television broadcasters Mark Followill and Bob Ortegel. The first live broadcast will be Friday, April 16 at 12:30 p.m. CT, highlighting the Mavericks' first-round playoff series, while Earl K. Sneed fields questions from the fans via the official Mavs Twitter account. Tune in for exclusive Mavs talk with the people that know the team the best.