The Mavs are like the Baxters of my predictions lately, in that they keep wrecking my stuff but I'm not mad. I mean look:
Beat Indy on February 12 and March 9. Sure, why not. Beat Portland on March 7. Beat OKC on March 16. Lose to Denver and Chicago. Now come on. Is that predictable?
Sure, maybe my dream is dead, of establishing myself as an oracle--and ultimately parlaying that into rule of a small province in Future America--but it's generally because the Mavs are playing better than expected, rather than worse, so that seems okay.
Still, sometimes I wonder why I forge ahead, but then I remember my fat blogging salary and the intense love of all my fans and I get back to it. It's the little things.
Games This Week: Boston, Monday, March 17; Minnesota, Wednesday, March 19; Denver, Friday, March 21; Brooklyn, Sunday, March 23
Prognosis for this week: Not so bad!
The good news is, you know, I started this thing to quantify the point that the Mavs aren't bad, and most of the time that I've been wrong lately, it's because they beat somebody unexpected. The bad news is that Denver and Minny and Brooklyn have not happened to be those teams this year. You look at the schedule and you figure it looks okay, no Spurs or Clippers or Rockets to be found, but as it happens the Mavs are a collective 1-6 against the non-Boston teams they're playing this week. In general, matchup stuff is what gets left out of strength of schedule estimations and often out of our thought processes. Which is dumb.
For example, everybody but Avery Johnson, for example, knew the Warriors were a bad matchup for the Mavericks in 2007, whatever their seed and however many games the Mavs had won (Mavs didn't lose to anybody else more than once that season, except their 0-3 against the Warriors). It's just a thing that' strue. The Mavs CAN be a team that can give Portland a hard time and have no answer for Denver. They probably are.
But if the Mavs are playing better, we have to give them credit for that too.
And I swear to god, if those guys email me to ask for EXTRA credit after the midterm....
Boston: Mavs had better win this one. Some of y'all will remember that I went to the Garden to see the last Mavs-Celtics game and as generally bad as everybody but Dirk was that night, it didn't feel like they were playing an actual NBA team. Since the Mavs need all the wins they can get, dropping games like this would be a tactical error on their part no matter how smart it seemed at the time.
Minnesota: The Wolves strike me as a team that thrives on confidence. They're young and brash and Love always lights up the Mavericks with both his superpowers, scoring and rebounding. He's not exactly going to get much resistance from the Mavs in either of those departments. And they're still feisty enough. Their 5-3 record in March has been buoyed by two wins over Sacto, one over Milwaukee and one over Detroit, but they've also beaten Denver and Phoenix in recent days.
Still though, 4.5 games behind Phoenix for 9th, 5.5 and 6 behind Memphis and Dallas, it is pretty hard to see the Wolves making the postseason this year and, you know, I'm not saying it makes a huge difference, but since this game is going to be close and one team needs it, you know, maybe if you try sometimes, you get what you need. Maybe...
Those of you who follow me on twitter (@andytobo) will know that this last week I was very upset to see Jermaine O'Neal on a basketball court. It's not that I've ever had much problem with his game, I'm just done with him existing somewhere that I have to know about it. We get it, Jermaine O'Neal. Whatever. Okay?
I am also done with Denver. I'm done with their tiny guards and their three-point shooting and the fact that the Mavs can't guard either. The Mavs will probably lose this game. Monta and Jose will probably look horrible. Kirk will probably moan about their contracts. Let's just get used to it now, and if it doesn't happen, great.
Brooklyn: The Mavs last bout with Brooklyn came at just the wrong time. While the Mavs were playing a stretch that would see them drop 5 of 8, Brooklyn was on a 10-1 run that would see them beat OKC, Golden State and Miami. That being said, the Nets aren't exactly coming into Dallas cold. They've won 7 of their last 9, and that again includes wins over Miami -- and Memphis, Chicago and Denver -- and they've still got a lot of talent.
Brooklyn is just one of those teams. They were bad for a while so everyone forgot about them. They have a strategy that everyone knows CAN'T WORK so it must not be, at all. But on December 31, when they lost to the Spurs, they were 10-21, and now they're 33-31, for a (attention mathletes) record of 23-10 in 2014. I think the Mavs can take this one, but I'm not so sure that they do.
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