Friday , Apr , 06 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Denver hosts the NBA-best Mavericks

(Sports Network) – The Dallas Mavericks try to get closer to clinching the top
seed in the Western Conference playoffs, as they visit the Denver Nuggets
tonight at the Pepsi Center.

The Mavericks are 6 1/2 games ahead of the Pacific Division-champion Phoenix
Suns, who are visiting the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets this evening, for
the top seed in the West.

Denver is No. 7 in the playoff race, one-half game behind the sixth-seeded
Lakers and one game ahead of the eighth-seeded Clippers.

Dallas wraps up a three-game road trip this evening. The Mavericks are 1-1 on
the swing. On Tuesday, Josh Howard scored 29 points and grabbed eight rebounds
as the Mavericks earned a 97-93 victory over the Sacramento Kings at ARCO
Arena.

Jason Terry added 27 points, five rebounds and five assists for Mavericks, who
rebounded from Sunday’s 126-104 loss to Phoenix to win for the 10th time in 11
games overall. Veteran Jerry Stackhouse tallied 23 points off the bench for
playoff-bound Dallas, which played without injured star Dirk Nowitzki, who
missed the contest with food poisoning.

Nowitzki is probable for tonight’s contest. The MVP candidate leads the
Mavericks in scoring (24.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg).

The Mavericks are 29-8 on the road this season. They return home to host the
Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday and the Clippers on Monday at the American
Airlines Center.

Denver enters tonight’s contest on a three-game winning streak. Carmelo
Anthony scored 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Nuggets to a
120-115 win over Sacramento on Wednesday at the Pepsi Center.

Nene added a career-high 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who nearly
blew a 21-point halftime lead but still held on to win their third straight
contest. Allen Iverson and J.R. Smith both tallied 16 points, while Marcus
Camby ended with 15 points and 11 boards in the victory.

The Nuggets are 20-18 at home this season. They are scheduled to visit the
Clippers on Saturday at the Staples Center.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the campaign between the squads.
Dallas won all three contests, and has captured four straight and eight of the
last nine meetings in the series.

The Mavericks have won three of four and four of their last six at Denver.

DAL DEN