If the Dallas Mavericks plan on going deep into the playoffs this season, they might want to start beating some of these teams whom they could wind up facing in the playoffs.
After losing 105-98 to the Golden State Warriors, the Mavs are 0-6 against the Western Conference teams that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today. In addition to the Warriors, the Mavs also have losses to top West playoff contenders Memphis, Houston, Portland, San Antonio and Phoenix.
The only team the Mavs hasn’t played yet in the West that would be in the playoffs if the postseason started today is the Los Angeles Clippers.
“We’ve got a lot of growing to do,” center Tyson Chandler said after Saturday’s loss. “I feel like we have good potential, but we’ve got to understand who we are, and we can’t come out there and not pressure.
“We have to pressure. We’re small, we have small guards and we don’t go with a big lineup. To have success we have to pressure.”
To have success, the Mavs also have to get off to a better start.
On Dec. 5 the Mavs fell behind the Phoenix Suns 40-27 after the first quarter and went on to suffer a 118-106 defeat in Dallas. Ditto on Saturday when the Warriors (20-2) busted out to a 39-18 lead by the end of the first quarter and went on to claim their 15th straight victory
“They obviously came out really strong, and I thought we were a step slow,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We weren’t quite reacting to everything and they had us going every which way.
“We’ve got to be a little quicker at the beginning, react a little quicker to things, rotate a little quicker. We were just a step slow on every rotation, and they made us pay.”
And made the Mavs (17-8) think about what it will take to defeat one of the best from the West.
“I just didn’t think we quite took anything away from them. I thought after that we battled, which is obviously one of the best teams right now in the league, or the hottest teams.
“We went toe-to-toe with them for most of the night. It’s just the first quarter wasn’t good enough. It shows that when we’re not ready enough or not rotating for each other enough, or a step slow to something, we just get lit up, and we get lit by everybody, and it’s been a common theme.’’