A bad week in the Western Conference could drop you out of the playoff race. The Dallas Mavericks have been struggling recently and are on a season high four game losing streak. They are 4-6 in their last ten games and currently sit in the 7th spot in the West.
The Mavericks are a high scoring team that puts up 107.2 points per game. That is good enough for 3rd in the NBA. However in three of their last four games they failed to score 100 points. During the losing streak the Mavs have allowed over 100 points in three of the four games.
They have lost two at home and two on the road. Three of the four teams were quality opponents but that is no excuse. A week ago they held the Grizzlies to 95 points and got a good road win. This week the Grizzlies explode for 109 points while holding the Mavericks to only 90 points.
The acquisition of Rajon Rondo is not looking great. In the beginning the Mavericks were winning and Rondo was playing well. He scored in double figures in six of his first seven games with the Mavs. Since January 4th he has scored in double figures just twice. In his last five games he is averaging just 7.8 ppg and 5.4 apg. He was held scoreless in their recent game against the Rockets and had five turnovers.
Dallas has two non-threats in their starting lineup; Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo. At times Rondo has been benched most of the fourth quarter. Their defense has been poor all season and they rely on outscoring teams. It is harder to do that when Rondo can’t score the basketball or set up teammates for easy baskets.
There is still a lot of time for the Mavericks to turn things around. However the Phoenix Suns are playing some good basketball and are only three games behind the Mavs for the 7th seed. The New Orleans Pelicans have won five of seven. Although they just lost to the Knicks, the Oklahoma City Thunder are still a threat to make a run in the West.
Dallas has some winnable games coming up against the Heat, Magic and Timberwolves. They need to reestablish their dominance on the offensive end. Their defense has to put together stops in the fourth quarter to keep leads.
Another bad stretch can have the Mavericks on the outside looking in. The move for Rondo is still a work in progress but they have to do a better job of putting him in position to make an impact on the game.