When evaluating an NBA franchise’s season, you can erase 15 wins and 15 losses, categorize them as outliers, and then critique the other 52 games (this season that would be 42 games).
You may have wanted to label this game as one of those 15 losses for the Mavericks, but you’d be mistaken. The Mavs needed this one.
The Houston Rockets snapped the Dallas Mavericks’ 5-game winning streak, ending their own 5-game losing streak with a 102-93 win at home. Led by 31 points from Rockets’ star, John Wall, and 18 rebounds from Kelly Olynyk, the league’s 2nd worst team put together a solid performance to take down the Mavs.
The Mavericks looked tired, especially down the stretch, falling apart after being tied 89-89 late in the game. That exhaustion led to an awful shooting performance. The team shot 33/87 (38%) from the field, including a woeful 10/39 (26%) from three. Despite the team’s off night, Kristaps Porzingis looked great, returning from a wrist injury. He put up 23 points on 10/19 (53%) shooting, and grabbed 12 boards in the loss.
Believe it or not, this was a must-win for the Mavs. Let me explain.
On Tuesday, Dallas beat a tough Utah Jazz team, while the Portland Trail Blazers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers. This placed the Mavericks one game back from the Trail Blazers for the 6th seed in the Western Conference.
Portland plays Utah tonight, which could easily result in a loss. While simultaneously believing the Rockets game last night was going to be a layup win, this would’ve put the Mavs in a great position to take over the 6th seed, ultimately avoiding the ridiculous play-in tournament.
While there are plenty of games left to play this season, if the Mavs fall short of the 6th seed when it comes down to it, I will be referring back to this horrific loss.
The Mavs will play the second half of a back-to-back tonight, April 8, at home. They will host a fired-up Milwaukee Bucks team, who suffered a comeback loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
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