Avery Johnson: Mavericks could potentially ‘sneak’ into the NBA Finals

The former Mavs coach called Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis "one of the best one-two punches in all of basketball.”

By the time the NBA season resumes in late July, it will have been on hiatus for more than four months because of the coronavirus.

The delay sets up what could be one of the most unpredictable postseasons in league history.

But that didn’t stop former Mavericks coach Avery Johnson from making a bold claim about his former team.

In an interview with CBS Sports, Johnson said he could see the Mavs sneaking into the NBA Finals.

“I’m really interested and looking forward to seeing the Dallas Mavericks,” Johnson said. “You put those guys in a seven-game series, they’re a team that could potentially sneak into the finals.”

With a 40-27 record, the Mavs are on pace to make a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. They currently sit in the seventh spot in the Western Conference with a seven-game lead over the No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies.

To make the playoffs, all the Mavs would need is any combination of two Dallas wins or losses by current No. 8 seed Memphis.

SportsDay’s Brad Townsend writes that the Mavs’ eight-game regular-season schedule, which tips off against Houston on July 31, may offer them a favorable playoff path. The Mavs’ schedule features matchups with the Rockets, Suns (twice), Kings, Clippers, Bucks, Jazz and Trail Blazers.

“[Looking at] teams with the easiest schedules and teams with the hardest schedule, the team that’s right there in between are the Dallas Mavericks,” Johnson said.

The Mavs’ schedule features teams with a combined 287-230 (.555) record. As for the two teams directly above Dallas in the standings, Houston’s eight opponents are a combined 304-214 (.586) and Oklahoma City’s are a combined 303-220 (.579). The Mavs are just 1.5 games behind Oklahoma City and Houston in the standings.

However, not everything will line up favorably for Dallas.

Center Willie Cauley-Stein has chosen to sit out, in large part because of the expected July birth of his baby daughter. Starting center Dwight Powell and guards Jalen Brunson and Courtney Lee will also sit out with various injuries.

But the Mavs will still have their star duo of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, who currently average a combined 47.9 points per game.

Doncic currently leads the league with 14 triple-doubles while Porzingis appeared to have regained his All-Star form before the stoppage in play.

“I’m really interested and looking forward to seeing the Dallas Mavericks. I think outside of LeBron James, they have a guy in Luka Doncic that’s just a walking triple-double,” Johnson said. “With Kristaps Porzingis, who’s the Robin to the Batman and Luka Doncic, there’s one of the best one-two punches in all of basketball.”

Find more Mavericks stories from The Dallas Morning News here.

In This Story

Selby Lopez, Digital Sports Producer. Since graduating from UT-Arlington in Dec. 2017, Selby Lopez joined The Dallas Morning News staff as a digital sports producer. He also is the beat reporter for the WNBA's Dallas Wings and is a blogger for all Baylor sports. /selby.lopez.31 @LopezSelby31 Instagram Iconselbylopez31
Mavs Minutes

Be the smartest Mavs fan

Get the latest news, analysis and opinion delivered straight to your inbox.

By signing up you agree to our privacy policy