The biggest game of the Mavericks' season takes place in Los Angeles today, as the Mavs and Lakers square off, each looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. Dallas is currently two games back of the eighth-place Jazz in the Western Conference standings, so a loss would all but crush the team's playoff hopes. As we look forward to what should be an entertaining game, let's check in on a few Mavs notes….
- Mike James has played a key role in the Mavs' second-half surge, having started the team's last 14 games, and tells Marc Stein of ESPN.com that he hopes to continue his playing career beyond this season. "My plan is to play two more years and my hope is to be able to finish my career here in Dallas playing for Rick [Carlisle], Donnie [Nelson] and Mark [Cuban] and with Dirk [Nowitzki]," James said.
- In advance of tonight's game against the Lakers, Nowitzki revealed what he told longtime friend Steve Nash when the point guard signed with the Lakers last summer: "I wished him the best when he signed with L.A. I said, 'Have a great year and I hope you lose to the Mavs'" (link via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News).
- Kevin Sherrington and Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News agree that if the Mavs sneak into the playoffs, it can be attributed more to Carlisle's coaching job than Cuban's approach to roster-building.
- Carlisle, however, doesn't want to hear talk about the coaching job he has done this season, as Sefko details in a separate piece.