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.