On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 116-108. The Mavericks have now lost five of their last six games (and eight of their last 11 contests).
Joel Embiid had 25 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for the 76ers, while James Harden chipped in 25 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
For the Mavs, Luka Doncic finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 8 rebounds and 4 threes, while Kyrie Irving contributed 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 threes and 2 steals in the losing effort.
The Mavericks currently have the 11th-best record in the Western Conference, meaning they wouldn't even be in the Play-In Tournament if the postseason started today.
With that said, Dallas is just one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the West's final Play-In Spot, and they are still just two games back from the seventh-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves.
After the loss to Philly, Irving was asked about being traded midseason and the team's recent struggles.
"[It's] just human nature, man; I'm getting traded to a new work environment, and it's just a lot of newness," Irving said, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "I'm trying to introduce myself to everybody, figure out, you know, who do guys go to on the team to confide in off the court? Who is our our coaching staff as people? Upper management, who are they as people? What do they expect from me? The big question: why they traded for me? And, you know, what does it look like for the future? That's the big question: what does our future look like? What does our future look like?
"I think now, just where we are in the season and where other teams are positioned already, it kind of looks like a bit of a clusterf**k, to be honest with you. Because we're 37-40, and we're trying to fight to get into the Play-In game. It's not the expectations I don't think any of us had in that locker room. And me getting traded midseason... I didn't expect to ask for a trade at that point in the season. I wanted to finish out with Brooklyn, finish out with the season that we had going, and I didn't get a chance to do that.
"So some of the goals I had previously this season had to be shifted, and I had to be more than willing, which I am, to be flexible and adaptable and live with the results, whether we make the playoffs or not. I just have to be at peace with where I am, which I am, and trust the guys that I'm going to be in that war room with every single day. So, I'm appreciative of them giving me the opportunity. It's been nothing but great here. And I've been at peace. So it's been good, outside of the losses, of course. We'd like to win every game."
The Mavericks have just five more games to turn things around and secure a playoff spot.