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The Predictions: Playing Golden State, Los Angeles and Sacramento

How will the Mavs fare this week?

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Predictions paradigm

The predictions were actually a dynamic 2-2 last week, since we called the Brooklyn loss and the Sacramento win, but since all games were decided by approximately a point I'm not willing to take any credit OR blame, especially blame. This is life with the Mavs these days. Three overtime games in the last week and a half, three other games decided by 6 or fewer....

We started this because you could basically set your watch to this team for most of the season, but if you look at the last few weeks -- two wins against Oklahoma City, wins against Portland and Indiana, and losses to Chicago, Minnesota and Brooklyn. I mean, who knows any more? Where have all the flowers gone? Where were you while we were getting high?

I'd still feel perfectly comfortable with you gambling your fortune on my predictions, but I'd feel less good about gambling my own. Gotta keep myself in monocles, you know.

Prognosis for this week: Honestly I have no idea.

General Thoughts

The Mavericks play a team from Cali and then finally leave home for a road trip through Cali. This is just about the worst thing that could happen at this point in the season. If there's anything worse than a game in California, it's a loss in Cali. If you're on the East Coast, the game finishes around 1 a.m. and you don't go to sleep until 2. If there's anything worse than that, it's a crucial loss in CA -- which just about any loss at this point might be.

When the Mavericks finally come home from this trip, they'll play San Antonio, Phoenix and Memphis with probably zero room for error. In short, the Mavericks play two teams that are better than they are this week, and two teams that are worse. But as the Suns found out last night against the Lakers, that doesn't mean everything it should. You can beat anybody! You can lose to anybody! Predictions! Glasnost! Franklin Roosevelt! The world is a vampire!

Specific Thoughts

vs. Golden State, Tuesday, April 1

Man, I'd love for the Mavs to win this one. Dallas has one annoying win against them in November, in which they let a 12-point lead going into the fourth get whittled down to four before winning. They had one annoying loss in which they let a 6-point lead going into the fourth get whittled down to a negative 2-point lead in which Curry scored 12 points in the last five and a half minutes INCLUDING a 4-point play and one shellacking.

Seems likely the Warriors will be without Bogut, who is likely to sit out 4-7 days with a minor injury. The Mavs can do this, though it'll be tough. For the sake of optimism, let's say they do. On the other hand, the Mavs' three-point defense, which can roughly be described as gesturing vaguely at otherwise open players, means no lead is safe against The Amazing Adventures of Steph and Klay.

Prediction: Win

at Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday, April 3

The only thing more annoying than the Los Angeles Clippers is the Los Angeles Clippers fans whining that people find them annoying. It's hard to pinpoint what exactly is so annoying about Blake Griffin, but it's much easier with Matt Barnes, and any team that employs Ryan Hollins should probably be politely asked to leave, since he doesn't seem to exist for any purpose but to shove and possibly injure actual basketball players. Chris Paul is both one of the greatest point guards of all time and also a devoted cheap shot artist. Two of those guys you'd love if they were on your team, obviously. But they are not.

And, too, the Mavs have had basically the same level of success against the Clips this season as they have against the Warriors. One annoying win and two annoying losses. Mavs actually match up pretty well against these dudes, which is surprising given the huge rebounding edge the Clips enjoy (lots of it, to not very much) and if that's to be expressed in the season series the Mavs will take this one. It's even possible that Blake Griffin, who left the last game due to back spasms, will be out, which would really help the Mavericks. However, given the Mavs' propensity to BE annoying, a close loss to the Clippers at 1:15 am at a crucial moment in the playoff race seems PRETTY likely.

Prediction: Loss

at Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, April 4

The Mavs should take this one because the Lakers aren't very good. However, you have to love Nick Young and the "Player Hater's Ball" just right until it is directed at you. The Lakers have, from somewhere, found a real proficiency in scoring points, including 115 against Phoenix, 107 against Minny, 105 against Milwaukee and 127 against New York just last week. And teams that score points are always bad news for the Mavs, who couldn't guard Abe Simpson playing kick the can. The Lakers have an equal and somewhat more pronounced propensity for allowing points, including giving up 143 points to Minny in regulation last week. They also lost to the Milwaukee Bucks recently, which almost seems mathematically impossible at this point.

Additionally, the Lake Show is better served here by NOT winning but as Mike D'Antoni must feel that he is almost certain to get canned. It's not exactly unlikely that he's more interested in showing what he can do with a roster that most people think is barely NBA caliber. I think the Mavs win, but I'm not looking past the Lakers. It's been about 100 years since the Mavs didn't play down to the competition and that could be a danger here. Still, the Mavs are the better team.

Prediction: Win

at Sacramento, Sunday, April 6

Let's say the Mavs win this one just because I can't emotionally deal with them not doing so right now.

Prediction: Win

Final Tally: 3-1