Apr 9, 2024 - Sports

The Mavericks are surging as the playoffs approach

Two men in basketball uniforms with their arms around each other

We must protect these two at all costs. Photo: Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks are peaking at the right time, thanks to the power pairing of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.

Why it matters: A solid NBA playoff run after last year's World Series win would help make up for all those heartbreaking years as a Dallas sports fan.

Driving the news: Dallas' regular season ends Sunday, and the NBA playoffs start April 20.

  • The final home game is Friday against the Detroit Pistons.

State of play: The Mavericks have the fifth best record in the Western Conference after winning 15 of their last 17 games, including a 130-104 win over the Charlotte Hornets Tuesday night. They can do no worse than a 6 seed in the playoffs.

Between the lines: Irving joined the Mavericks in a trade last year and signed a multi-year deal with the team in the summer. Many NBA analysts and fans were skeptical of his pairing with Dončić.

  • The team missed the playoffs last year after a "disastrous season" but has emerged as a championship contender this year.
  • "A lot of people said it wouldn't work. It would be too ball dominant. But guess what? The Mavericks are hitting their stride at the right moment and the duo looks like it's working quite well," NBA TV analyst Brendan Haywood said on Sunday, after the Mavericks beat the Rockets in overtime.

Zoom out: The Mavericks finally have a versatile roster that could be clutch in the playoffs.

  • Frisco native PJ Washington, who was acquired through a trade earlier this season, scored 32 points against the Golden State Warriors last week while Dončić was out because of knee soreness.
  • Center Daniel Gafford has found more success in Dallas than his past seasons in Chicago and Washington.

What they're saying: "Kyrie and Luka get the majority of the attention, as they should. But I think the complementary pieces have really stepped up," Rockets head coach Ime Udoka said at a news conference recently.

What's next: Dallas plays in Miami at 6:30pm Wednesday.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Kyrie Irving arrived in Dallas as part of a trade, not as a free agent.

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