KEY POINTS

  • The Dallas Mavericks secured a spot to the Playoffs as the San Antonio Spurs defeat the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday
  • The Mavs continue to struggle in the NBA restart
  • Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are urging their teammates to be better with the postseason just around the corner

In a rather strange turn of events, the Dallas Mavericks have entered the books with another historic feat despite a lackluster return from the NBA hiatus. With the help of the Memphis Grizzlies losing against San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, the Mavs have officially clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2016 while also being served with their first postseason ticket in the post-Dirk Nowitzki era.

The Mavs lost to the Phoenix Suns in a tight contest on Sunday night, 117-115, to stay winless inside the Orlando bubble two games into the NBA restart. This happened just hours after the Spurs did them a favor by taking down the Grizzlies, 108-106.

Coach Rick Carlisle did not discount that making the Playoffs was their initial goal. However, he rued that his team’s shaky start in the bubble is still a cause for concern.

 "To be in and be assured of the seventh position is good, but we came here to move up," Carlisle said at pre-game according to ESPN.

It’s needless to say that the Mavericks have now ultimately shifted to a new age of glory with Luka Doncic taking the helm as the franchise’s cornerstone. In just his second year in the league, the Slovenian star has towed Dallas back into the Playoffs.

Amidst the early struggles since the return, Doncic backed up Carlisle as he stressed that the Mavs have to brace and be prepared to take down every opposition tasked against them with the postseason tilt just around the corner.

"That was the objective, to get to the playoffs this year," said the All-Star guard, who exploded for 40 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists in a losing effort.

"It doesn't matter who you play. If you want to win, you've got to beat everybody. We've just got to learn from these mistakes."

Star forward Kristaps Porzingis, meanwhile, refused to dwell on the bad side of things. Instead, he is taking the more patient approach as he urged his teammates to be better moving forward.

"Our goal was to make the playoffs, and we achieved that, but for me and for us, we're going to try to win every game now that we have left in the regular season," the big man said. "Then, we'll see where we end up in the playoffs and go from there. This is not a sprint. This is a marathon, and with each day, with each game, with each practice, we want to be a better team and better individually."

The Mavs will get back to action on Tuesday to play the Sacramento Kings at the HP Field House.

Luka Doncic Luka Doncic is the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. In this picture, Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, December 16, 2018. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images