So who’s ready for the Mavericks’ next last-gasp stand?

That four-game road trip was supposed to be the big show of force, and the Mavericks went 1-3. Now, they start a five-game homestand, and seven of their next eight games stretching past the All-Star break are at American Airlines Center.

And guess what? After that, they have seven of eight on the road.

Raise your hand if you get a whole lot more juiced up about inventing trade scenarios right now than dreaming of a first-round playoff experience.

The time has come to understand that there have been too many failures to have much faith in this team. Even a manly show of strength at home probably isn’t enough to save the Mavericks’ season, which sits at 20-28 with 34 games to play.

“Every game is a Super Bowl for us,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “They’re all massively important.”

Give Carlisle and his team kudos for keeping their heads where they’re supposed to be. This team still feels like it has played well enough to be several pegs up the standings. And the 5 1/2 games they trail eighth-place Houston by right now doesn’t seem insurmountable.

Then again, when you consider that they are only five games from the Western Conference cellar-dwelling Hornets, that sort of puts it in perspective.
Clearly, the odds are stacked against them.

At this rate, the only intriguing part of the Mavericks’ run to the All-Star break is whether anything heats up on the trade front.

So here are the options the Mavericks will have:

Stand pat, keep Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Dirk Nowitzki as the nucleus that could get Dwight Howard’s attention in free agency this summer.