Dallas Mavericks: Warriors

We take a look at the games that impact the West playoff picture each morning for the rest of the regular season.

Mavs' spot in the standings: The Mavs took a one game lead over the idle Denver Nuggets for the No. 6 seed. Both teams are in action tonight. Dallas plays at Chicago in a game the Bulls need to maintain their lead for the No. 1 seed in the East, and the Nuggets play at the Phoenix Suns, who are clinging to the No. 8 seed.

FRIDAY'S GAMES
Mavs 104, Warriors 94: Vince Carter continues to heat up with 19 points as the Mavs won their final home game to finish 23-10 at home and 26-22 against Western Conference foes.

Spurs 121, Lakers 97: San Antonio makes a loud statement with a second consecutive win over the Lakers, this one coming in Kobe Bryant's return from a shin injury. Spurs hold onto the No. 1 seed.

Grizzlies 85, Bobcats 80: Memphis trailed by 10 at the end of the third quarter, but rallied to beat Charlotte, which has lost 19 in a row. The Grizzlies still have a shot at the No. 4 seed and homecourt in the first round, likely against the Clippers.

Thunder 103, Kings 92: Kevin Durant had 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as the Thunder kept the heat on the Spurs for the top spot.

TODAY’S GAMES
Mavs at Bulls
Nuggets at Suns
Trail Blazers at Grizzlies
Warriors at Rockets
Magic at Jazz

If the playoffs started today: Mavs vs. Lakers

W2W4: Mavs say they're coming to play

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
1:00
PM CT


DALLAS -- The Mavericks insist they won't be going on vacation for the next week until the playoffs start.

"We want to be playing good basketball heading into the playoffs so we're working toward that," coach Rick Carlisle said after Friday morning's shootaround. "That's the biggest thing. We'll watch the minutes, but the emphasis is going to be on hard play, continuing to trend the right way coming off a good win against Houston and, again, we just want to be very fixated on our process of being a good basketball team and being a team that can be successful in the playoffs."

PODCAST
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle dishes on the state of his team now that they've clinched a playoff spot. He also talks about Delonte West's "West willy" and why he's gone with Vince Carter over Shawn Marion in the last couple of games.

Listen Listen
Tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors, a severely depleted squad that has lost 13 of 15, should amount for an easy night for the home team that will allow for minutes to be spread up and down the roster. Consider the Warriors' probable starting five for tonight: Charles Jenkins, Klay Thompson, Mickell Gladness, Jeremy Tyler and Dorell Wright.

That should leave a well-rested Mavs team for an interesting game Saturday night at the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls are locked in a battle with the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed in the East, the difference between opening the playoffs against the surging New York Knicks or the spiraling Philadelphia 76ers.

Jason Kidd said the Mavs can't afford to take a laissez-faire approach into the final three games.

"That can sometimes hurt if you if you go in thinking we don’t care about these three games," Kidd said. "We want to make sure that we’re firing on all cylinders going into the playoffs, offensively and defensively, so these three games are for us to get better and that’s the way we’re going to approach it."

Records: Warriors (22-39); Mavs (35-28)

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center

TV: ESPN, FSSW

Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: This is the type of game that Brandan Wright should see a heavy workload and that means the alley-oop watch will be on full alert. The 6-foot-10 center leads the Mavs in dunks this season and considering the Warriors' depleted roster and the likely up-and-down tone this game should take, watch out below.

Key matchup: Klay Thompson vs. Shawn Marion
Who knows how many minutes the Matrix will play tonight? If the defensive player of the year candidate sticks with the opponent's most dangerous scorer, than Thompson's it. The Mavs got a taste of that last time at Golden State. He leads all rookies in 3-point percentage and in 23 games since taking over as the starting shooting guard, Thompson has averaged 18.3 points, 3.0 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 33.7 minutes.

Injuries: Warriors -- C Andrew Bogut (fractured left ankle) is out; G Stephen Curry (right ankle sprain) is out; F David Lee (strained groin/stress fracture) is out; C Andris Biedrins (mild concussion) is questionable; G Nate Robinson (right hamstring strain) is questionable. Mavs – None.

Up next: Mavs at Chicago Bulls, 7 p.m., Saturday

Mavs shrug shoulders at choice of opponent

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
12:28
PM CT
DALLAS -- There was little rejoicing at the American Airlines Center the morning after the Mavericks clinched their postseason ticket by not playing a game. Playoff berths don't elicit much fanfare around here, not with the consecutive postseasons streak now having stretched to a dozen.

PODCAST
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle dishes on the state of his team now that they've clinched a playoff spot. He also talks about Delonte West's "West willy" and why he's gone with Vince Carter over Shawn Marion in the last couple of games.

Listen Listen
Maybe there was just a little relief this time around, but no fanfare.

Still, don't think that players don't look at the standings to see who they match up with on any given night. They might not come out and tell you who they want to play, but they know the score during the regular season and which teams they match up best with.

"We can’t be worried about it," Jason Kidd said of a first-round playoff opponent. "I think the highest seed we can get is sixth and the lowest seed we can get is eighth, so for us it's just a matter of finishing off the season the right way so whoever we play at the 3 or whatever seed we have, that’s who we have to play."

Kidd is right. The 5-seed is virtually unattainable because Memphis has three fewer losses than Dallas with four games to play (Mavs have three left) and the Grizzlies hold the tiebreaker. If you think Memphis could lose all four and the Mavs can win out, just remember that the Grizz play the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. They haven't won a game since March 17.

So it's No. 6, 7 or 8, with 6 and 7 being the most likely possibilities. If Dallas finishes sixth, the Lakers are the most probable matchup after the Clippers hurt their chances of moving up with Thursday's loss at Phoenix. A seventh-place finish will net the Spurs or Thunder.

Jason Terry also said that he doesn't care which team he faces. But he's not so sure, like a year ago, that other teams aren't lining up for a shot at the defending champs. Terry, like last year, said be careful what you wish for.

Here we go again with no respect card.

"A lot of teams are hoping and wishing that they can play the Mavericks similar to last year," Terry said. "They’re going to get what they ask for soon."

Hey, whatever works.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9