Abbreviated preview today, but let’s get this party started.
A win over the Lakers today wins the road trip. Period. Otherwise, we’ll be explaining away how the Mavs turned a 2-0 start into a 2-2 finish, especially when one game on the schedule seemed like a gimmie.
For the first time all season, there’s a real brightline. There’s no “well if x happens and y happens, then it’s still a moral victory.” The Mavs need to win today, or else their efforts in Phoenix and Portland have been invalidated. The Mavs don’t have the luxury of treading water against the West’s best; they need to make up some serious ground in terms of their victories against playoff teams, if not for seeding’s sake then for their own self-confidence and competence.
Two wins over two playoff-ish teams is great. Sweet. Cool. But with a win over the Lakers, this road trip could become a starting block for the Mavs’ mini-season. Not to mention a reference point if the Mavs and Lakers happen to meet in the first round of the playoffs.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you couldn’t tell, today’s game is kind of important.