Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki hits game-winning three-pointer to bury the Bulls (VIDEO)


We talked about the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West between the Jazz and the Lakers earlier today, but the Mavericks are likely to be in the conversation through the end of the regular season, as well.

Dallas has finally gotten Dirk Nowitzki back healthy, and has now won 11 of its last 16 games after a thrilling 100-98 comeback win over the Bulls on Saturday afternoon.

Chicago held a lead of 97-85 with 4:08 remaining, but the Mavericks closed the game on a 15-1 run, capped off by Dirk’s three-pointer (seen in the video clip above) with two seconds left that gave his team the victory.

Nowitzki finished with 35 points on 14-17 shooting, including 5-6 from three-point distance. Vince Carter chipped in 17, as did reserve big man Brandan Wright, who feasted inside thanks to Joakim Noah once again being forced to sit out due to injury.

The win puts Dallas just a game back of both Utah and L.A. for that last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Jazz own the tie-breaker over both the Lakers and Mavericks, so Dallas would need to make up two games in the standings on Utah over its last nine games to overtake them in the standings.

Dallas is 1-2 against the Lakers this season, but faces them in Los Angeles on April 2 in a game that is huge for the Mavericks’ postseason chances. Should Dallas tie the season series with a victory, the next tiebreaker is won-loss record in the conference, which could very possibly come down to the final game of the regular season.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.

Kevin Durant with huge dunk on visiting Fenerbahce Ulker

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Welcome to America, Fenerbahce Ulker.

The Turkish powerhouse was in America playing some exhibition games this preseason, and they got a first-hand reminder that Kevin Durant is back. KD had 13 points in the Thunder’s easy 111-81 win.

Not to be outdone, Russell Westbrook got in on the act.