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OK, so the Mavs have a 5 game lead (loss column) over the Rockets and Kings for the race for the 4th seed. With 16 games left the Mavs could go .500 and still it would be difficult for either team to catch them.

In fact the Spurs lead over the Mavericks is exactly the same lead as the Mavs over the Rockets/Kings.

If the Spurs go 7-8 the rest of the way the Mavs would have to go 14-2 to catch them (The Spurs have the tie-breaker so the Mavs would have to have a better record ). This is almost impossible. So if the Spurs went 5-10 without Duncan the rest of the way, the Mavs would have to go 12-4 to win the Division. While 12-4 is possible though difficult, it is very unlikely that the Spurs even without Duncan would go 5-10.

On the other hand for the Mavs to lose the 4th seed they would have to fold in a big way. If the Mavs go 8-8. The Kings would have to go 14-2 to catch us (We have the tie-breaker against the Kings). The Rockets would have to go at least 13-3 ( We are 2-2 against them so I don't know the tie-breaker).

So even 9-7 would pretty much guarantee the 4th seed.

I would like to see Avery continue distributing minutes like he did last night against the Hornets. Nobody played more than 31 minutes. Give Dirk and the guys some time to rest up a bit. Since our playoff position can not change much I would prepare to get everyone rested for the playoffs. That and working Dampier back in once he is ready.
 

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Good post mavsman, I'm sorry I haven't replied earlier

For a while, I was worried about losing our 4th seed to Houston (not Sacramento). Since then, we've got Avery Johnson and I am really not worried at all. I really don't see us struggling that much, hell I think it's possible to even catch up to San Antonio. They scored 75 points the other day against the Knicks, the KNICKS

Besides, we're only going to get stronger once Jerry Stackhouse and Erick Dampier return
 

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I think what puts this in perspective: We're talking about moving up and gaining ground, and that's a (bleak) possibility with Duncan out. I can't see a scenario where a team makes up 5 games on us. Not with so few games out, no way. The record you deem impossible for us to get, 14-2, is in the same range the Rockets and Kings have to get, and that's with us going 8-8 the rest of the way. Not happening.
 
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