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This Monday in the Papers

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Jeff Caplan writes about how the Mavs would really like to lock up the top seed tonight so they can get rested for the playoffs.

"You definitely want to have it," guard Jason Terry said. "There's no team in the league I know that would say they'd rather give the other team home-court advantage. So we want to have it. Our record speaks for itself at home."

Johnson would like to wrap up things immediately. Four of the Mavs' final six opponents are fighting to make the playoffs or for critical positioning. Johnson would prefer to be able to control how much everyone plays and prepare for the playoffs on his terms, like a baseball manager who can set his pitching rotation.

Eddie Sefko has a reason beating the Clippers could be a bad thing.
On the bottom end, only Golden State has a realistic chance to catch the Clippers.

So go ahead with the conspiracy theory about how letting the Clippers win tonight would help the Mavericks because it would make it that much tougher for the Warriors - and any spell Don Nelson might own over the Mavs - to reach the playoffs.
Sefko also says the basketball gods would frown on that, and I agree.


Gil LeBreton applauds Avery for only playing Dirk 26 minutes and sitting Stackhouse against the Blazers, and he'd like to see more of that going forward.
The chance for 70 is gone now. If the Mavericks can dispatch the Clippers tonight and clinch the No. 1 seed, Johnson would be wise to declare the rest of the regular-season schedule spring break. Mavs gone wild, and all that.

It's time for Avery, the Pop protégé, to apply some of those end-of-season lessons with the Mavs. In the final five games after tonight, Nowitzki, Howard, Terry and Stackhouse should play only their recommended adult daily allowances.