How Concerned Should Lakers Fans Be About Streaking Dallas Mavericks?

The Los Angeles Lakers haven't exactly set the world on fire after taking over the No. 8 spot from the Utah Jazz. Instead they're treading water as the Dallas Mavericks slowly creep up from behind.

Dallas has arisen as the greatest threat to the Lakers for their eighth spot in the Western Conference. It is now 9-4 in its past 13 games, capped off with a 113-108 win over—you guessed it—those reeling Jazz.

Now, the Mavericks haven't set the world on fire against the league's best teams, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets over their past 14. However, they've beaten the teams they know they can beat.

Dallas' March run hasn't marked a huge difference from February, but it's shown off some different basketball.

In all, the team's 104.5 point-per-game average since the beginning of March is up over its season average, but it's similar to what it posted in February.

Defensively, the Mavericks have given up 102.4 points per game in March. That's in line with their season average, but worse than the 99.1 points per game they gave up in the previous month.

What Dallas has shown is that since the return of Dirk Nowitzki, it's a different basketball team.

After struggling in his first nine games on the floor (in which Dallas went 1-8), Dirk has averaged nearly 18 points and eight rebounds, and the Mavericks are a solid 20-12, a 50-win pace over an entire season.

Dallas has a different kind of pep in its offense with Nowitzki in the lineup, and while it's still not a special team defensively, it did put another smart seven-footer in the rotation, which is never a bad thing.

The Mavericks haven't suddenly turned into a great team, but they have turned into a good enough team, all while the Jazz completely fall over themselves.

Utah has lost 12 of its last 15 game...

About the Author