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Big Blown Leads Early Have Mavs Struggling to Make Playoffs Late

By Richie Whitt
|  Thursday, May 1, 2014  |  Updated 10:26 AM CDT
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Blown Leads Have Mavs Struggling to Make Playoffs

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Shawn Marion #0 and Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks listen to head coach Rick Carlisle (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Mavs haven’t exactly helped themselves in ensuring a playoff spot this season. And now it appears they’ll get no assistance from their Western Conference foes.

As I watched the Memphis Grizzlies claw back from a 16-point deficit to win in Utah late last night, it became clear that making the playoffs for the Mavs is anything but a slam dunk. With 10 games remaining, Dallas is part of a five-team jumble with Memphis, Portland, Golden State and Phoenix. The five teams are separated by only two games. One of the five won’t make the postseason.

The Mavs, at 43-29, need to win 7 of their final 10 to assure a return to the playoffs. It won’t be easy. Of their remaining 10 they have home two against the Clippers and one against the Spurs, two of the West’s elite. The most important games will come against the teams they are battling: Golden State, Phoenix and Memphis, the latter two the final two games of the regular season April 12 and 16.

Of the group of contenders only the Blazers are struggling, having lost three in-a-row. Everyone else is at least 7-3 in their last 10 games. I hate to ruin your breakfast, but the Mavs shouldn’t be in this position. In fact, if they had just held on to half their big leads this season they’d be sitting pretty in 5th place instead of sniffing around 8th.

What big leads, you say? We’re talking 14+ leads that turned into losses. Two against the Raptors. One against the Warriors. The Hawks back around Thanksgiving. And recently two losses – at home, mind you – to the Bulls and Nets. Hold on to just two of those and … You get the picture.

If the Mavs were in the Eastern Conference they’d be comfortably in third place, preparing for a first-round series with the home-court advantage against the likes of the Washington Wizards. Instead, in the West, they’d best get to 50 wins … and hope for some help.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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