Three things about the Mavs

First, the Dallas Mavericks, who visit Staples Center on Sunday afternoon, are locked in a seven-team battle to decide the second through eighth spots in the Western Conference playoff race. The Mavericks (40-26) were eighth, but only four games behind the second-place San Antonio Spurs, as of this morning. The Mavericks are coming off a loss Friday against the Golden State Warriors.

Second, Dirk Nowitzki is having another superb season as is Jason Terry. Nowitzki leads the Mavericks in scoring, averaging 25.6 points, and is the league’s fifth-highest scorer. Terry is averaging 19.9 points. However, as Lakers coach Phil Jackson pointed out today after practice, Jason Kidd “is the general.” Kidd positions everyone just so. He is averaging 8.4 assists.

Third, Dallas owner Mark Cuban questioned the Mavericks’ effort after a March 2 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and threatened to make changes if matters didn’t improve. Cuban isn’t alone in being upset about the Mavericks’ play this season.

“It’s been a frustrating year, not only for him as an owner to watch, but as players,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “We don’t want to have the ups and downs all the time. We don’t want to play well one night and not play well the next. As a player who is used to winning with this organization, it hasn’t been an outstanding, fun year. But you’ve got to make the best out of it.”

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