DALLAS – The Dallas Mavericks face a major test on their upcoming four-game home stand.
And if they pass the test with flying colors, they could very well be the team that ultimately grabs the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
The Mavs open the home stand with Tuesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, who are the defending Western Conference champions and owners of the NBA’s best record. The home stand continues Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers, who have the fifth-best record out Wrest.
From there, the Mavs host the Toronto Raptors – they are fourth in the Eastern Conference -- on Saturday. And on Mar. 27, the Mavs close the home stand against Oklahoma City, who own the sixth-best record out West.
"These are all good teams coming up, so we’ll have our hands full," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We’ve been a combative team most of the time, and that’s how we’re going to have to be this week at home.’’
The Mavs are an impressive 12-3 in the last 15 home games. That includes victories over the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah, Miami, Memphis and Oklahoma City.
"It’s a good week at home for us,’’ forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "We’ve been playing a lot better at home, we’ve been winning big games at home, but that week is full of challenges with a lot of great teams and playoff teams coming in.
"We just got to be ready. We don’t want to look too far ahead, and focus on the next game and play together, play together on defense and rebound together and everything else we’ll worry about after that.’’
With 13 regular season games remaining, the Mavs trail the Denver Nuggets by only two-and-a-half games for the final playoff spot in the West.