Coaches hate that phrase. They'll usually claim it's too early in a season for a must-win or that there's no such thing as a must-win as long as if you lose, you're season's not over. So, technically, tomorrow's game against the Warriors is not a must-win, but Mavericks coach Avery Johnson isn't playing that game.
"If it's eight games left and there's a three-way tie or a two-way tie for seventh and another team knocking on the door and there's three of us down there - and hopefully some of the other teams will start losing more -- hey, every game is a must-win," Johnson said. "Last night was a must-win, tomorrow night will be and when we get back on the plane to go to L.A.
"That's the only way we can look at right now and I think if we look at it that way, hey, we got a chance to be pretty good."
He finished his answer with this nugget concerning Dirk Nowitzki's impending return:
"The one thing that I do want, and I challenged our team with this, is whenever we get Dirk back in the fold, I want Josh Howard and Jason Kidd and Jet Terry and Bass and Dampier to play the same way they've been playing here recently when we get Dirk back. And then we'll have a chance."