The Dallas Mavericks clinched a playoff berth following a 101-98 victory against the Phoenix Suns. Dallas was down by as many as 13 points, but the Mavericks managed a huge comeback against the Suns. Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points, Monta Ellis added a game-high 37 points, and the Mavericks punched their ticket to the Western Conference playoffs.
It was a back-and-forth game between two teams desperately needing a win for the playoffs. The Suns had multiple opportunities in the final minute to take the lead or tie the game but were held off by Dallas. Brandan Wright's huge block against Eric Bledsoe on what looked like an open layup was the defining play as the Mavericks finished the Suns off. Markieff Morris hoisted up a desperation three as time expired but failed to connect.
Phoenix took control of the game early with Channing Frye shooting four-of-four from three-point range to open the first quarter. Eric Bledsoe's 29 points and five-of-seven shooting from deep weren't enough to hold off Dallas. Goran Dragic ended the night with 13 points on 6-for-18 shooting.
Ellis and Nowitzki combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki left the game briefly after rolling his ankle but later returned. The Suns are not eliminated from the playoffs but must win their next two games to make the post-season.