You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

If NBA Postseason Started Today: Mavs vs. Lakers in Winner-Takes-All Showdown

Dallas Basketball on FanNation 3/23/2023 Matthew Legros
© Provided by Dallas Basketball on FanNation

The Dallas Mavericks have seen more losses than wins since the arrival of All-Star Kyrie Irving, and they would run into Irving's former teammate LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the play-in tournament if action started today.

If the NBA postseason started today, the No. 9 seeded Dallas Mavericks would play the No. 10 seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the Western Conference play-in tournament -- winner takes all, loser goes home.

The Mavericks (36-37) have been reeling in the standings since the arrival of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, although he has, individually, played sound basketball. They have lost two straight games and six of their last 10, and what was once a team as high as the No. 5 seed entering the month of March is now fighting tooth and nail to just have a shot at contending for a first-round playoff series.

Dallas would play at home against Los Angeles should the standings remain the same at the close of the season. Dallas owns a 22-15 record at home while Los Angeles is sub .500 at 16-20 on the road. The Mavs also own the tiebreaker, as they went 3-1 against the Lakers this season.

The Lakers have been without superstar LeBron James since Feb. 28 as he's battled a foot injury. Recent reports have surfaced that the NBA's all-time leading scorer is targeting an Apr. 5 return to the court, per Bleacher Report.

All signs point to James being available for postseason action.

With or without James, the Lakers have struggled to contain the Mavericks this year, including a recent one-point loss on March 17 at the buzzer. Encouragingly, Dallas won both road games in the season series.

However, since the arrival of former All-Star D'Angelo Russell, the Lakers have gone 11-7 and have re-entered the mix for play-in positioning, despite Russell missing seven of those games. The additions of Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt have given L.A much needed shooting, offensive rebounding and variation on both ends.

While the Lakers are No. 4 in the league with 16.5 fast break points per game, the game slows down in the postseason. Their bottom-of-the-barrel 34.1 percent three-point clip will be the main area of exploitation for coach Jason Kidd and the Mavericks, even with their revamped roster. 

Dallas' offense is all-world at times, but their perimeter defense has taken a backseat as a consequence. Losing Dorian Finney-Smith leaves Dallas short-staffed in defending James or Lakers star Anthony Davis. 

With both teams having championship pedigree on their rosters and size at every position, making life difficult for L.A's star duo will determine if Dallas advances or not.

Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Mavericks? Click Here.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon