The idea of the Dallas Mavericks shaving their beards once they reach the .500 mark is a story that recently made the national circuit.

But as far as Dirk Nowitzki is concerned, he wants the Mavs to focus on something much more tangible than simply ridding themselves of some wild-looking facial hair.

“I think after the All-Star game, we won some close games finally, won some decent road games, beat some good teams at home,” the 11-time All-Star forward said. “So I think we put ourselves in position to finally finish the year over .500 — that’s our goal — and give us a little shot we have still at the playoffs.

“I know [qualifying for the playoffs is] not looking good, but we want to at least give ourselves a chance and win as many games as we can from the rest of the five [games remaining] and see where it puts us. We don’t want to focus on them beards.”

After going 2-2 on their weeklong road trip that concluded with Sunday’s 96-91 win in Portland, the Mavs are 38-39 on the season with five games left in the regular season. That’s probably not enough games for the Mavs to make up some precious ground and reach the playoffs for the 13th straight season.

Any combination of wins by the current holders of the No. 8 seed, the Utah Jazz, and losses by the Mavs that adds up to two will officially eliminate Dallas from playoff contention.

Coach Rick Carlisle said of his team’s slim playoff chances: “I’m just concentrating game to game, day to day.”

The Mavs spent Sunday night in Portland, flew home Monday and will practice Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s home game against the Phoenix Suns. With a major miracle needed to get them in the playoffs, the Mavs are proud that they at least were able to recover from the miserable 13-23 record they had following a Jan. 9 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.