The Phoenix Suns couldn't get the job done on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, but the Dallas Mavericks did on Thursday, grabbing a huge 113-107 win on the road. Dirk Nowitzki was the star of the show with 26 points and 11 rebounds, but he got plenty of help from his teammates.
With the win, the Mavs are now in seventh place in the Western Conference all by their lonesome, a half-game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. Dallas is also a half-game ahead of Phoenix, but the Suns are currently out of the postseason because the Grizzlies hold that tiebreaker. All three teams will be in action on Friday night.
Drive & Kick
The Clippers' loss coupled with the Oklahoma City Thunder's 106-94 win over the mighty San Antonio Spurs put a dent in any chance of Los Angeles moving up to the No. 2 seed. A Clippers win and Thunder loss would have meant just a half-game difference between the two teams, but instead, Oklahoma City now has a 2½-game advantage.
The Spurs remain three games ahead of the Thunder for the top seed, although it's just two in the loss column.
Here's the playoff race in the West (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):
|1. y - San Antonio Spurs||59||17||-|
|2. x - Oklahoma City Thunder||55||19||3|
|3. y - Los Angeles Clippers||54||23||5½|
|4. Houston Rockets||49||25||9|
|5. Portland Trail Blazers||49||27||10|
|6. Golden State Warriors||46||29||12½|
|7. Dallas Mavericks||45||31||14|
|8. Memphis Grizzlies||44||31||14½|
|9. Phoenix Suns||44||31||14½|
There were no games in the East on Thursday, so there was no change in the playoff race. The Miami Heat remain percentage points ahead of the Indiana Pacers for the No. 1 seed, while the New York Knicks are percentage points ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 seed.
NBA Power Rankings
NBA Power Rankings
All of the teams in the East playoff picture play on Friday. The Pacers will try and put a halt to their road struggles, but it won't be easy against the Raptors in Toronto. An Indiana loss in Toronto coupled with a Heat win at home over the Minnesota Timberwoves would put Miami a full game up at the top of the conference.
Down at the bottom of the race lies some real intrigue. The Knicks host the Washington Wizards, while the Hawks will be at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers. If the Knicks lose and Cavs win, Cleveland would be just a game behind both New York and Atlanta.
Here's the playoff race in the East (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):
|1. y - Miami Heat||52||22||-|
|2. y - Indiana Pacers||53||23||-|
|3. x - Toronto Raptors||43||32||9½|
|4. x - Chicago Bulls||43||32||9½|
|5. x - Brooklyn Nets||40||34||12|
|6. x - Washington Wizards||39||36||13½|
|7. Charlotte Bobcats||37||38||15½|
|8. New York Knicks||33||43||20|
|9. Atlanta Hawks||32||42||20|
|10. Cleveland Cavaliers||31||45||22|