The Dallas Mavericks, led by 21-year-old all-star from Slovenia, Luka Doncic, and the seven-foot-three Latvian, Kristaps Porzingis, have inserted themselves as dark horse championship contenders. The Mavericks have the best offensive rating in NBA history this season, scoring 116.8 points per 100 possessions. This season the Mavs have averaged 116.4 points a game and lead the league in three-pointers made with over 1000 this year. When the NBA season abruptly halted on March 12th, the Mavs were 40-27 while holding the seventh spot in the tough Western Conference.
If the NBA playoff format that was proposed and approved goes according to plan, which would have twenty-two teams all play in Orlando with eight games of the regular season before the playoffs. The Mavericks would have a chance to move up from their current seven seed in the playoffs, and not have to face a possible play-in tournament situation. Since the Western Conference playoff race is pretty tight the Mavs could move up a couple of spots and have a more desired first round opponent. The highest the Mavs could jump is all the way up to the three seed in the west. That being said, Denver holds a four game lead on them so it would be nearly impossible for Dallas to jump up to four. Even though they couldn’t really move that far up they could still jump up a few spots.
They are only one and a half games behind the sixth seeded Rockets and the fifth seeded Thunder, as well as two and a half games behind the fourth seeded Utah Jazz. If all goes well in the eight games before the playoffs would start, the Mavs could have a better playoff seeding then they do now and have a better chance at moving on to some of the later rounds of the playoffs.
If none of the standings changed from what they are now in the eight games before the playoffs begin, the Mavericks would not have to be in the play-in tournament for the final seed in the western conference. Dallas would face Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. This season, the Clippers beat the Mavericks in the two games that the teams played against each other. Kawhi played in both of the games and scored 28 points in game one and 36 in game two. George missed out on the second game but in the first game he played a great game scoring 26 points. If the Clippers and Mavericks do meet in the first round it would definitely be a very exciting battle between two good teams.
Another team the Mavericks could possibly play in the first round are the Denver Nuggets, right now the Nuggets are the third seed, so if Dallas move up one spot and the Nuggets stay where they are this would be the matchup the Mavs get. Denver and Dallas also played two games against each other with Denver winning the first one in a one point nail biter where Nikola Jokic made a clutch game winning shot with 5 seconds left and Dallas winning the second matchup by 16 points. In the second game fan favorite center Boban Marjonivic played the best game of his career by scoring 31 points and 17 rebounds. If the Nuggets and Dallas do meet in the first round it would also be a very exciting series where there could be some very close games.
HOW THE PLAYOFFS WILL WORK THIS YEAR
Since the NBA playoffs will all be at the Walt Disney resort in Orlando that means that there will be no home court advantages for anybody. Because the Mavericks will probably have to face a team that has a better seed than them this kind of helps them. Even though they will not have to play any away games they also won’t play any home games.
The NBA is possibly going to let teams bring their hardwood courts to Orlando to give them the feel that they have a home game. And maybe even letting one player on the higher seeded team would be able to be whistled for seven fouls rather than six before fouling out. The Mavericks could have Kristaps Porzingis get that advantage for a couple reasons, he leads the team in fouls per game this season with a little over three personal fouls a game and is one of the star players on the team and it would be costly if he fouled out in a game. It would be interesting for the Mavs to have their very bright city edition court design in Orlando if that idea happens.
One thing that is definite for the playoffs is that there will be no fans in attendance. There is a chance that the NBA will allow some of the players’ family members to attend. The NBA has even thought about using crowd noises from the video game NBA 2K20.It is going to be interesting to see how no fans affect this year’s playoffs.
Whoever the Playoffs go this year the Mavericks are very confident they can beat any team in the NBA right now and contend for a championship.
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