Donnie Nelson and the other members of the Dallas Mavericks' top brass are concerned that the Mavs' 12-year run of advancing to the playoffs may come to an unceremoniously end this season.

The Mavs go into tonight's home game against the Golden State Warriors with a 21-28 record. In other words, if the playoffs started today the Mavs would be at home watching it on TV.

That would be a huge fall from grace for a team that just celebrated winning the NBA title in 2011.

"We've had a special run -- we're fighting to protect that,'' Nelson, the Mavs' president of basketball operations, told three reporters after this morning's shoot around at American Airlines Center. "I think it's a product of the West being so top-to-bottom thick.

"I'd love to petition the commissioner to slide over to the Eastern Conference for a couple of years -- that might be nice.''

The Mavs are currently five-and-a-half games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. And with only 33 games remaining, the Mavs have to start kicking it into high gear immediately in order to stretch their playoff streak to 13 years in a row.

"Are we concerned, yes, because we're used to performing at a high level,'' Nelson said. "(Owner) Mark (Cuban) starts off every discussion and meeting with championship.