Thursday, March 27, 2008

Won in Denver before without Dirk

The Mavs have been here before without Dirk Nowitzki. It happened last season on the last day of 2006 when Nowitzki came down ill and couldn’t leave the locker room.

The Nuggets had traded for Allen Iverson about two weeks prior to that game, though Carmelo Anthony was out serving his suspension for his part in that infamous New York-Denver melee. The Mavs pulled out a hard-fought 89-85 win on Dec. 31, 2006 behind 28 points and 17 rebounds from Josh Howard.

A similar performance from Howard and Co. would serve the Mavs’ postseason hopes well. A win tonight essentially gives Dallas a four-game lead on ninth-place Denver with 10 games left. (It’s three games in the standings plus the tiebreaker edge.) Two of the next games are against eighth-place Golden State.

“I’m looking at it as make-or-break,” Howard said today. “The teams we’re fighting for those final two spots, we’re going to face. We’ve got Golden State twice and Denver. These are tough games. We have to be ready for them.”

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