Just when it looked like the Dallas Mavericks may be turning the corner after their three-game winning streak that continued after the All-Star break, Dallas has given it right back, losing their last three.
That leaves March as an incredibly important month for this team, which is still seven games under .500 at 25-32 and now sit five full games out of the final playoff spot in the West.
Dallas has a murderous schedule in March, and by the time the calendar turns to April, we will have a clear look at whether or not the Mavericks are serious playoff contenders.
The Mavericks have several huge games in the month of March that will go a long way in showing just what this team is made of.
Here are some big games in March for the Mavericks that didn't quite crack the top five.
at Brooklyn: March 1
The Mavericks' first trip to the Barclays Center against one of the East's top teams. With Dallas reeling, this could be a game that helps turn their momentum around.
at Houston: March 3
The Mavericks' first of back-to-back chances to gain ground on the team they are directly chasing. Last time Dallas went to Houston, O.J. Mayo dropped 40.
vs. LA Clippers: March 26
Smack-dab in the middle of their six-game home stand, all against teams with winning records, the Mavericks must contend with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers in the American Airlines Arena.
Perhaps the Mavericks' biggest rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, have been tearing it up once again this season.
The Spurs quietly have the best record in the NBA and have opened up a two-and-a-half game lead over the Thunder for the top seed in the West.
If the Mavericks do sneak into the playoffs, they likely will be tasked with figuring out a way to defeat the Spurs four out of seven times, which won't be easy for anyone to do this year.
Still, if the Mavericks are going to make a playoff run, they are going to have to steal some games from top competition.
The Mavericks play only four games in March against teams that are currently under .500. If they are going to make a push, winning at the Spurs on the final game of a four-game road trip could turn their season around.
However, the Spurs have defeated the Mavericks all three times they have played this season, and the last game in San Antonio was an embarrassing 129-91 win for the Spurs. Dallas might have extra motivation, but Gregg Popovich and the Spurs will be too much in this one.
Prediction: Spurs 105, Mavericks 95
While much of the focus has been on the Mavericks trying to chase down the Houston Rockets, they, perhaps, have just as good of a chance at besting the Utah Jazz for a playoff spot.
The Jazz are currently seventh in the West and are just one game up on the Rockets for that seed.
If Dallas is still within striking distance at that point, this game could have major implications in the standings. The Mavericks still have a lot of room to make up for the game to carry too much meaning, but the Jazz can be caught if Dallas plays their best basketball this month and gets back to the .500 mark and above.
Dallas should use that to their advantage and pick up their first win over Utah this season.
Prediction: Mavericks 108, Jazz 104
Along with being a game against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference, the March 20 home game against the Brooklyn Nets is also important for a different reason.
The Dallas crowd will get their first chance to react to Deron Williams who chose the Nets over the Mavericks in free agency this offseason.
It's hard to fault Williams for his decision, especially considering where the Mavericks are as a team right now, but Williams paired with Dirk Nowitzki would have been a potentially deadly combo that would have put the Mavericks in the mix in the West.
Many expected Williams to come to Dallas since it is his hometown, but instead, Williams chose to go with the new-look Nets after the addition of Joe Johnson.
Dallas fans may indirectly blame Williams for the Mavericks' lack of success this season, so the boo birds may be out and loud in the AAC in this one.
In terms of the game, it will be the team's second game of the month, but as of today (February 27), they have not played each other this year. Again, the Brooklyn game is a part of the Mavericks' six-game homestand that they will need to do well on to push toward the postseason.
I expected Williams, though, to come motivated, and overall, the Nets are too talented for the Mavericks if they play up to their ability.
Prediction: Nets 97, Mavericks 85
Over the last several years, the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder have developed a pretty intense rivalry.
Two years ago, it was the Mavericks who bested the young Thunder in the Western Conference finals on their way to the franchise's first NBA championship.
Last year, the Thunder got their revenge by sweeping away the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki in the first round, despite all four games being competitive.
This year, the Thunder are once again back near the top of the standings, but the Mavs are nowhere to be found.
However, that doesn't mean that the two teams don't still give a little something extra when they play each other.
Oklahoma City has won all three games against Dallas this season, pushing their winning streak to seven over Dallas. However, two of the three games have gone into overtime, including a 117-114 thriller last time the two teams played in Dallas on January 18.
As I mentioned earlier, the Mavericks need to find some wins against good teams if they are going to push their way into the playoffs. This game seems like it could be prime for an upset, as the Mavericks are due for a close win over Oklahoma City.
Prediction: Mavericks 105, Thunder 104
The most important two-game set the Mavericks will be playing this month will come in a back-to-back against the Houston Rockets on March 3 and March 6.
The latter of the two will be in Dallas, as the Mavericks and Rockets will clash for the fourth and final time this season.
The Rockets have been consistently locked into the eighth spot in the West for the past several weeks, but with the Lakers, Blazers and Mavericks all on their heels, they can hardly afford a slip up.
For Dallas, this is a chance to pick up two games on the team they are chasing down for that final playoff spot.
If Dallas can somehow win both in the home and home, it would put them potentially within three or even two games (depending on the results of their March 1 game against Brooklyn) with plenty of time left to play in the season.
If the Mavericks lose the March 3 contest at Houston, this game is equally as important as if they win it. Losing two games to the Rockets at this point in their season may put the official nail in the coffin of the Mavericks' 2012-13 playoff hopes.
Dallas has won both games against the Rockets this season and seem to have their number, despite the difference in the standings.
While the Rockets seem like heavy favorites to win in Houston, the Mavericks should and will hold serve on their home court.
Prediction: Mavericks 114, Rockets 107