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Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Two shots for Mavs to get No. 2 seed tonight

By Jeff Caplan

For tonight, at least, the Dallas Mavericks will root for the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors.

Two scenarios tonight could clinch the No. 2 seed for the Mavs:

If the Nuggets win at the Phoenix Suns, the Nuggets will win the Northwest Division, lock up the No. 3 seed and lock out the Utah Jazz from the No. 2 seed. The Jazz is the only team that can bump the Mavs out of the No. 2 seed. If the Jazz loses at Golden State, it would also assure the Mavs of the No. 2 seed.

A potential interesting dilemma for the Mavs is that if the Jazz win tonight at Golden State, the Mavs-Spurs game will tip well before Jazz-Suns on Wednesday night, so Mavs will have no choice but to play to win. Utah will then find out as it plays Phoenix if it still has a shot at No. 2.

Here's a handy playoff pairings primer that the good folks at the Jazz sent out:

2. Dallas or Utah
3. Denver, Phoenix, Dallas or Utah
4. Utah, Denver or Phoenix
5. Phoenix, Denver or Utah
6. Portland or San Antonio
7. San Antonio or Portland
CAPS: locked into position

Dallas will be seeded:
#2 if Mavericks win OR Denver wins OR Utah loses a game
#3 if Mavericks and Denver loses and Utah wins both games

Utah will be seeded:
#2 if Jazz wins both games and Mavericks and Nuggets lose.
#3 if Jazz wins both games, Mavericks win and Nuggets lose.
#4 if Denver wins and Utah beats Phoenix OR if Denver loses and Utah loses to Golden State and beats Phoenix.
#5 if Utah loses to Phoenix.

Denver will be seeded:
#3 if Nuggets win OR if Jazz lose to Warriors and Suns lose to the Jazz.
#4 if Nuggets lose and Suns beat the Jazz.
#5 if Nuggets lose and Jazz win both games.

Phoenix will be seeded:
#3 if Nuggets lose and Suns win both games.
#4 if Suns lose to the Nuggets and beat the Jazz OR Suns beat Nuggets, lose to the Jazz and Jazz beats the Warriors.
#5 if Suns lose both games OR if Suns beat Nuggets and lose to Jazz and Jazz loses to Warriors.

Portland will be seeded:
#6 if Blazers win OR Spurs lose
#7 if Blazers lose and Spurs win

San Antonio will be seeded:
#6 if Spurs win and Blazers lose
#7 if Spurs lose OR Blazers win

Here's the remaining schedules for seeds 2-7:

2 Dallas (54-27): vs. San Antonio (Wed)
3 Denver (53-28): @Phoenix (tonight)
4 Utah: (52-28) @Golden State (tonight); vs. Phoenix (Wed)
5 Phoenix (52-28): vs. Denver (tonight); @Utah (Wed)
6 Portland (50-31): vs. Golden State (Wed)
7 San Antonio (50-31): @Dallas (Wed)