NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 20th
(All times eastern)
Golden State Warriors (22-39) at Dallas Mavericks (35-28), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks clinched another
playoff berth without ever having to take the floor on Thursday. New Orleans'
overtime upset of the Houston Rockets did the trick for the Mavs,
who have reached the postseason 12 consecutive times.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle now has the ability to manage the playing time of
his veterans in the final three games of the regular season starting tonight
when the Mavericks host Golden State in their final home came of the truncated
Dallas, currently the sixth seed in the West, will play at Chicago on Saturday
and then get a four-day break before its April 26 season finale at Atlanta.
The Mavericks also downed the slumping Rockets in their last encounter, a
117-110 in Dallas on Wednesday. Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 of his 35 points in
the second half of that one to lead Dallas.
Vince Carter and Jason Terry provided sparks off the bench, netting 23 and 19
points, respectively, for the Mavericks, who picked up a much-needed victory
after back-to-back overtime losses.
"We really needed the win and our guys weren't going to let it go," Carlisle
told the Mavs' official website.
Nowitzki is heating up at the right time, averaging 30.0 points over his last
five games, a stretch that started last Thursday in a 112-103 win against
"The second half I was able to get some good looks, guys kept looking for me
after cuts to the basket, had some good three's that went in. I Just got
involved in the game a little more," Nowitzki said of his dominant play
against the Rockets after intermission.
The banged-up Warriors, meanwhile, have lost six straight, including
Wednesday's 99-87 setback to the Lakers in Oakland. Impressive rookie Klay
Thompson scored 17 points to pace Golden State in that one while Jeremy Tyler
finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
"It's a valuable experience for him to go against different ways people are
going to defend him," Golden State head coach Mark Jackson said of Thompson.
"It's a great experience, being doubled, being grabbed, being beaten up.
Because the great ones, it's a compliment."
With guard Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) and center Andrew Bogut
(broken left ankle) already shut down for the season long ago the Warriors did
the same with star forward David Lee, who is struggling with groin and hip
problems, after the game against the Mavs last week.
Dallas snapped a modest two-game skid to the Warriors with the triumph on
April 12. Meanwhile, Golden State, which has dropped 13 of 15 overall. is a
dismal 0-8 in games plated on Friday this season and has lost in 19 of its
last 24 trips to North Texas.
04/20 10:38:14 ET