If the Mavericks look at their schedule and the daunting challenge of running down three teams in front of them for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference, it can get pretty demoralizing.

That’s why coaches often break down segments of the season into five-game increments. That makes it easier to focus on a difficult situation — and makes it easier to sell the “one game at a time” stuff.

If Houston goes 14-13 the rest of the way, the Rockets will finish 43-39. Assuming the Mavericks have to get to 43 wins to get into the playoffs, here’s how it can happen, five games at a time.