Monday, April 7, 2008

Good vibes for final five

The Mavericks had been able to control their own destiny for a while now, even with the recent run of bad luck and sub-par performances. If they could figure out a way to win, they were getting in.

Taking two of the last three games against stout competition, plus the recent stumbles of Denver and Golden State, have solidified the Mavs’ playoff standing. The postseason is not a given just yet, but the waters are much clearer after taking down the Warriors and Suns in span of five days. Winning at Phoenix on Sunday was a real jolt of confidence.

“We were always right there, so I was never really worried, but for some reason we couldn’t figure out how to win,” said Dirk Nowitzki, a downright inspiring presence since returning from injury. “But every good team we’ve played so far we were right there on the road or at home. It felt great to finally get over the hump.

“Everyone in the locker room was pretty hyped up that we had finally pulled this one out and hopefully this can build some momentum. We still have some tough games until the playoffs. If we can get some momentum here in these last games, then we could be a very dangerous team in the playoffs.”

Not only did the Mavs (48-29) beat two playoff-caliber teams, but they bottled up two high-octane machines. The Warriors scored just 86 points – about 25 less than their league-leading average – and Phoenix (the No. 2 scoring team) scored just nine in the fourth quarter and 98 overall.

“It was huge,” Jason Terry said. “Look at our defensive output, holding both those teams to under 100 points. Those are the highest scoring teams in the league – just awesome. That has given us the confidence we needed out of that Golden State game and now to win one on the road against Phoenix, hey, we’ve got to be able to ride this wave all the way into the playoffs.”

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