It’s only a difference of one more win. But what a big difference one more win makes.
For the second consecutive season, the Dallas Mavericks went into the final game of the regular season needing one more win in order to reach 50 victories for the season. It didn’t happen in the final game last year when the Mavericks dropped a 106-105 decision in overtime to the Memphis Grizzlies and finished 49-33.
But the Mavericks got it this season, thanks to Wednesday’s 114-98 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Center. It was a milestone the Mavericks had been aiming for heading into the playoffs.
“It’s just viewed that way around the league that a 50-win team is better than a 49-win team,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “[Ex-Boston Celtics forward] M.L Carr had a great saying: ‘Hey, we’re going to be here three hours, we might as well win.’”
The last time the Mavericks won at least 50 games in a season occurred during their 2010-11 season when they went 57-25. They went on to win their only championship that season.
Since that season, the Mavericks were 36-30during the 66-game strike-shortened 2011-12 campaign, and went 41-41 and 49-33 before finishing this season 50-32.
“You want to add [a 50-win season] to your résumé,” forward Richard Jefferson said. “If you get a chance to get 50 wins, that’s just another feather in your hat.”
With Wednesday’s victory, the Mavericks have had 14 50-win seasons in franchise history. That includes 11 in a row from the 2000-01 to the 2010-11 campaigns.
Before starting that string, the Mavericks had only two 50-win seasons..
The franchise’s first 50-win season was 1986-87 when they were 55-27, and Dallas went 53-29 the next season.
The Mavericks also have three 60-plus winning seasons. They finished the 2006-07 season with a franchise-best 67-15 record, went 60-22 during the 2002-03 season and 60-22 during the 2005-06 season when they made their only other trip to the NBA Finals.
“Obviously you want to win a championship,” Jefferson said. “But to say that you’ve been on a team that was able to accomplish [50 wins], that’s still an accomplishment in this league.”
While forward Chandler Parsons still doesn’t know if he will be able to play in the Mavericks’ playoff opener, guard Devin Harris paid a visit to the locker room before Wednesday’s game and is confident he will be able to play.
Harris missed Wednesday’s game against Portland after suffering an injury to his left great toe during Monday’s game at Utah. He said the toe is black and blue, but otherwise the pain is minimal.
“It feels like it’s black and blue,” Harris said. “It should be all right. I should be fine.”
Carlisle said Parsons is making progress, but no one will say for certain if the four-year veteran will be healthy enough to play this weekend.
“He’s listed as day-to-day,” Carlisle said. “He’s doing better. We’ll kind of update you as we get information, but the signs right now are pretty positive.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760