NBA schedule 2014: Mavericks host Warriors, Rockets visit Brooklyn

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavs and Warriors will fight for Western Conference playoff positioning Tuesday.

There are three games on the NBA's Tuesday schedule, and the one not on the TNT double-header will likely be the best. It's certainly the most important.

Main course: Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors

8: 30 p.m. ET

The Mavericks are caught in a three-way tie with the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies for seventh in the West, and one of those teams will likely miss the playoffs. There's an outside chance, though, that the Warriors could find their postseason in jeopardy, too. Golden State is only a game and a half ahead in sixth, and it has a date with San Antonio on Wednesday. That makes this matchup huge for both the Mavs and the Warriors.

Golden State lost to the New York Knicks on Sunday without David Lee and Andrew Bogut, and both players are expected to miss the game in Dallas, too.

The Mavericks' offense has been humming, but the Warriors held it to 85 points on 36.6 percent shooting on March 11 in one of Dallas' worst games of the season.

Appetizer: Brooklyn Nets vs. Houston Rockets

8 p.m., TNT

The Nets have won 13 of their last 17 games, but they lost in New Orleans and Charlotte last week. They'll catch a break by meeting Houston with Dwight Howard nursing an ankle injury and Patrick Beverley recovering from tearing his meniscus.

Brooklyn will be without Kevin Garnett and likely without Andrei Kirilenko, but both are getting closer to coming back. The question is whether or not this team can stop the James Harden-led Rockets in their absence.

Dessert: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

The Los Angeles Lakers have embraced their identity as spoilers at the end of the season, beating the Knicks by 31 last week and the Suns by 16 on Sunday:

Chris Kaman had a ridiculous line of 28 points, 17 rebounds and six assists against New York, but might be out of the rotation again with Pau Gasol back from vertigo. The Blazers have won three in a row since LaMarcus Aldridge returned from his back injury, and their offense was in early-season form in a 105-98 victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday. Portland is in fifth place in the West, 2.5 games behind Houston with 10 games remaining.

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