Score Strip

  1. League: NBA
  2. Golden State vs. Denver
    Live
    End 3rd
    88 GS
    78 DEN
  3. LA Clippers vs. Portland
    Live
    End 3rd
    85 LAC
    82 POR
  4. Phoenix vs. Sacramento
    Live
    5:56 4th
    89 PHO
    87 SAC
  5. Indiana vs. Orlando
    Final
    101 IND
    86 ORL
  6. Chicago vs. Charlotte
    Final OT
    86 CHI
    91 CHA
  7. Washington vs. Boston
    Final
    118 WAS
    102 BOS
  8. Houston vs. New Orleans
    Final
    100 HOU
    105 NO
  9. Brooklyn vs. Cleveland
    Final
    85 BKN
    114 CLE
  10. Philadelphia vs. Miami
    Final
    100 PHI
    87 MIA
  11. Atlanta vs. Milwaukee
    Final
    111 ATL
    103 MIL
  12. Utah vs. Minnesota
    Final 2OT
    136 UTA
    130 MIN
  13. Toronto vs. New York
    Final
    92 TOR
    95 NY
  14. LA Lakers vs. San Antonio
    Final
    113 LAL
    100 SA
  15. Detroit vs. Oklahoma City
    Final
    111 DET
    112 OKC
  16. Dallas vs. Memphis
    Final OT
    105 DAL
    106 MEM
  17. View All

Mavericks-Timberwolves Preview

AP - Sports

While he hasn't quite returned to his All-Star form, Dirk Nowitzki has hit some big shots lately to breathe some life into the Dallas Mavericks' playoff hopes.

Dallas seeks its fourth win in five games on Sunday night when it visits the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have lost seven of eight.

Since starting out 1-8 in December once Nowitzki returned from preseason knee surgery, the Mavericks (28-33) have turned things around with a 14-9 record since Jan. 10 with the 7-footer in the lineup. Nowitzki had just 12 points on 6-of-14 shooting on Friday, but drilled a pair of jumpers down the stretch to key a 102-99 win at Detroit.

Nowitzki is averaging 15.9 points on 44.1 percent shooting - his lowest scoring average since his rookie season - but has scored 18.5 per game while hitting 50.4 percent from the field in his last eight.

Thanks to Utah's loss at New York on Saturday, the Mavericks have moved within three games of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Still, they'll have to leapfrog the Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland to reach the postseason.

"We're just taking them one game at a time," Nowitzki said. "We can't really look at the big picture, because it doesn't really look that great. We just have to stay positive and keep working."

After finishing with 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting in a 113-98 home win over the Timberwolves on Jan. 14, Nowitzki hopes to add to his recent success in Minnesota. He's averaged 25.1 points while hitting 55.3 percent from the field in his last nine visits.

The Mavericks appear to have a decent shot at continuing their late playoff push against a Minnesota team that has lost 23 of 28 following a 111-88 defeat at Denver on Saturday.

While the Timberwolves (21-38) pulled out a 90-82 victory at Dallas on Nov. 12 and a 114-106 overtime home win on Dec. 15, those wins came before Nowitzki returned.

Dallas guard O.J. Mayo, who had 22 points and went 5 for 8 from 3-point range on Friday, has averaged 19.3 points while hitting 7 for 11 from beyond the arc in the season series.

Shawn Marion, though, is a game-time decision after missing Friday's contest with a calf injury.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are expected to play without four starters - Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain), Kevin Love (broken hand), Andrei Kirilenko (strained left calf) and Brandon Roy (knee surgery) - for the fifth straight contest.

"It gets tough on all of us, especially when you have nine guys and you're going up against a team like (Denver),'' said forward Derrick Williams, who has averaged 19.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in his last seven games.

Mickael Gelabale had a season-high 19 points on Saturday, while J.J. Barea added 15. Barea, who helped Dallas win the 2011 title, has scored 36 in his last two against the Mavericks after sitting out the first meeting with a sprained left foot.

Minnesota, however, has averaged just 87.8 points while shooting 39.7 percent from the floor and 27 for 104 (26.0 percent) from 3-point range in its last six.

Since winning 18 of 19 in this series, the Mavericks have dropped four of six to the Timberwolves.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball
View Comments