Mavs Looking to Move Forward in Tough West

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

The Dallas Mavericks have been on a bit of a hot streak lately, rattling off three straight victories against the likes of the Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Memphis Grizzlies most recently on Wednesday night. The natural thing would be for Dallas to breath a small sigh of relief, having finally put a little separation between them and the Griz, two games to be exact, for that eighth and final spot in a stacked Western Conference. But don’t let Rick Carlisle hear that. Sure his team might have won 110-96 in Memphis where they’ve rarely bested the Grizzlies in recent years, but he’s far from content with eighth. Carlisle has been to the top, leading Dallas to its only franchise title in 2011.

“We’re a team looking to move up,” Carlisle told reporters. “We’re looking to move up in the standings. We’re not looking to just hang on to the eighth spot. Who wants to be in the eighth spot if you’ve got a chance to move up to seventh, sixth, fifth or fourth? That’s what our mindset’s got to be.” While I agree with Rick, the idea of Dallas moving as high as fourth seems a bit ambitious considering Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Houston are all favorites for home court. Also, let’s consider who Dallas has beaten during this run. Yeah Memphis has been hot since Marc Gasol returned from injury, but since point guard Mike Conley went down with a sprained ankle the team has dropped two of three. Even still, Dallas has a shot at moving up if Dirk can stay hot and Samuel Dalembert continues to show up as he has been these past few games. The Mavericks go as Sammy D goes, and when he’s making an impact Dallas is good enough to play with anybody. So what teams can the Mavs possibly catch in the coming weeks? Well for starters the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors are just a half game ahead in the standings. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility that the Mavs can track down the Rockets and Clippers given the four-game spread separating the two.

“This is the kind of win we’ve been trying to get to get some momentum,” Carlisle said after Dallas dominated the final 14 minutes of Wednesday night. “We’ve just got to keep it going.”

There’s no doubting Dallas’ depth and scoring punch can get them there, but until they fix the defense and rebounding issues that have continually held them back, they’ll continue to hover around seventh and eighth.

For more news and updates on the Dallas Mavericks, follow Darreck on Twitter @DarreckWKirby

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