The Phoenix Suns' time as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference was short-lived for now. The Suns have the Dallas Mavericks to thank for that, as the Mavs re-took the final spot in the West playoff race thanks to a stirring 128-119 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night.
Dallas looked to be in trouble after Kevin Durant buried a long three late in the fourth quarter to put the Thunder up three, but Jose Calderon answered with a three of his own. After Russell Westbrook missed a jumper, Dirk Nowitzki nearly made a prayer three that would have ended the game in regulation.
However, Nowitzki was the hero in overtime, scoring seven points in the extra frame. Three of those points came on a clutch three to seal the win:
Nowitzki finished the game with 32 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals, which is the first time he's reached all those benchmarks in the same game in his career, per Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com.
Nowitzki's superb performance came after one of his worst outings of the season against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday. The big German went just 2-of-12 in that loss, but he more than made up for it against Oklahoma City.
NBA Power Rankings
NBA Power Rankings
The Mavs are now a half-game ahead of the Suns in the playoff race, although both teams do have 29 losses. The Memphis Grizzlies are percentage points ahead of Dallas in the No. 7 spot.
Not far ahead of that group of three are the Golden State Warriors and the reeling Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavs are 1½ games behind the Warriors and just two behind the Blazers, who were blown out by the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.
The Thunder, who got 43 points from Durant in the loss, fell to 2½ games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the top spot in the West. The Los Angeles Clippers are two games behind the Thunder in the third slot, while the Houston Rockets have a firm grasp on the fourth seed.
Here are the full standings in the West:
|San Antonio Spurs||54||16||-|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||52||19||2½|
|Los Angeles Clippers||50||21||4½|
|Portland Trail Blazers||45||27||10|
|Golden State Warriors||44||27||10½|
|New Orleans Pelicans||30||40||24|
|Los Angeles Lakers||24||46||30|
Over in the Eastern Conference, there's a new No. 3 seed in the house. That would be the Chicago Bulls, who took over the third spot after the Toronto Raptors fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night. The Brooklyn Nets are two game behind the Bulls, but the Nets are just one game back in the loss column of both Chicago and Toronto.
Here are the full East standings:
|New York Knicks||29||42||22|