Well, last game was fun. In game 81, the Mavs secured their playoff fate, and will be finishing no lower than 7th and maybe as high as 5th in the West. All that's left is to determine the playoff opponent, and they'll have to go through the vaunted Spurs to do so. Well....maybe vaunted. Let's take a peek.
What have the Spurs done lately?
Win. A lot. That's pretty much it. However...
Who is even playing in this game?
Per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News, Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker are not even making the trip to Dallas. McDonald speculated that Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge would also sit, as well as some combination ofWest, Green and Mills. So in short, we have no idea who will suit up for the Spurs other than not Leonard and Parker. But it sounds like the Mavs will have a good chance against a short-handed Spurs squad.
For the Mavs' part, they'll be going for a win, no doubt, but could see Deron Williams and J.J. Barea, both of whom played hurt the other night vs. the Jazz, rest. I would normally guess that some combination of these guys, Dirk Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews would sit, but there are still some playoff implications to be sorted out.
What's at stake for the Mavs?
The Mavs have a shot at the fifth seed for a playoff date against the Clippers, though they'll need a win and losses by the Trail Blazers (home to Nuggets) and Grizzlies (at Warriors, who are going for the all-time win record). So they will certainly be leaning towards trying to win rather than resting.
A win or a Grizzlies loss gets them the sixth seed and a date against the Thunder. A loss and Grizzlies win, and they turn right back around and head to San Antonio to face a fully rested Kawhi & Co. as the seventh seed.
How to watch
A little bit of an early start time -- 7:00 p.m. Central on FSSW. Otherwise, catch the matchup on NBA League Pass.