DALLAS -- With most of the Eastern Conference teams going through a downward trend, this is the perfect opportunity for a Western Conference team like the Dallas Mavericks to stack up a few wins.
Especially since 13 of the 15 teams in the West appear to be strong.
"The way the West is shaping out we need to win all your games against the Eastern Conference teams and steal a few here and there in the West,'' forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "If you look at the West’s record against the East, everybody’s kind of beating up on the lower teams in the East.
"That’s why the Atlanta loss is tough for us.''
The Mavs are 5-2 against the East this seaosn with wins over Atlanta, Washington, Orlando, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. The losses were to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, and last Friday's 88-87 loss in Atlanta when the Mavs blew a 17-point lead.
"We had it in the bag and had a horrible fourth quarter and kind of let it slip away,'' Nowitzki said of the loss to the Hawks. "Those are kind of the way its shaped out already in November.
"Those are kind of must-wins. And against the West, a number of teams are so stacked up and so good that here and there you’re just going to lose some. That's how it goes.''
The Mavs (10-8) will face another East foe Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center when they host the Charlotte Bobcats (8-10).
-- Dwain Price
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