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Remaining schedule suggests tough road ahead for Mavericks

With the deadline passed and the playoff push a "go", Dallas must now walk the NBA gauntlet and play at their best, against some of the best the league has to offer.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

So, the trade deadline has passed. With no major moves to bolster the starting lineup and no selling off of expiring contracts, Dallas knows what it has and what it must do: make the playoffs. Doing that means winning between 20-22 games of the remaining 29 the rest of the way.

With that in mind, a look at some of those upcoming matchups:

February 24th: @ LA Lakers

February 26th: vs Milwaukee

February 27th: vs Memphis

March 1st: @ Brooklyn

March 3rd: @ Houston

March 6th: vs Houston

March 12th: @ Milwaukee

March 14th: @ San Antonio

March 17th: vs OKC

March 18th: @ Atlanta

March 20th: vs Brooklyn

March 22nd: vs Boston

March 24th: vs Utah

March 26th: vs LA Clippers

March 28th: vs Indiana

March 30th: vs Chicago

April 2nd: @ LA Lakers

April 4th: @ Denver

April 12th: vs Denver

April 15th: vs Memphis

Except for the Lakers, all those teams are currently projected to make the playoffs. That's 18 games against playoff-caliber opponents, six of which are on the road. And, of course, not counted are the nine other games against non-playoff opponents, and six of those games are also on the road, starting tomorrow night with a team that beat Dallas back in January, the New Orleans Pelicahornets.

This is the reality of the position Dallas faces. The playoff odds calculator says their chances are remote, at best, at 13%. While the team has played better of late, and won back-to-back blowouts, it should be kept in mind that these were against the bottom half-dozen of the league.

This is a daunting list, and the only thing scarier than it is the idea of what happens if they give it their best and just miss. 42 wins and the 15th or 16th pick. Out of the playoffs and without a lottery pick to either draft with or use as a major trade chip for a veteran. You could make the argument that this is the most likely end spot for Dallas, and that would make for a truly depressing offseason.