After dropping 10 of their last 12 games, the Dallas Mavericks find themselves in some unfamiliar territory in the Western Conference standings -- hovering near the bottom.
Dallas (13-20) has the fourth-worst record in the conference and trails the No. 8 Portland Trail Blazers (16-15) by four games for the final Western Conference playoff spot. That's not a familiar spot for a perennial playoff team that is usually vying for one of the best records in the conference. With forward Dirk Nowitzki working his way back into the starting lineup, things could start to look up for the struggling Mavericks.
The Mavericks are hovering near the cellar in the Midwest Division, 12.5 games back of the division-leading San Antonio Spurs (26-8). The Spurs hold the league's longest current winning streak at seven games and have surged into the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings, a fraction behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (24-7).