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Both the Hornets and the Lakers won last night.  So the math is finally simple.

Beat the Hornets tonight and they'll open the playoffs in New Orleansthis weekend.

Lose, combined with a Denver win over Memphis, and it's off to Los Angeles as the eighth seed to face Kobe Bryant and the top-seeded Lakers...

In case you forgot, Jake will be at the game tonight with press access so you can expect good information after the game and during in some fashion.

And in case you didn't hear, the game time has been moved up to 6:00 PM CT.

The Mavs are obviously saying they intend to play tomorrow to win and get the 7th seed - no matter what you think after their last two games.

"You've got to let destiny happen for itself," Jason Terry said Tuesday. "We tried that last year, and it didn't work out too well.

"So for us, just go out there and play to win. We want that [last] win. That puts us in seventh. That's the only way I can put it."

I'm sure you remember last year when Dallas did not play to win against Golden State in game 81.  Obviously this year is completely different because Dallas actually has something to play for -- not facing Kobe and the Lakers.

New Orleans clinched the Southwest Division title last night, and Mike Fisher wonders how they will approach tonights game.

What’s in it for New Orleans to win tonight? A similarly-compelling “who-do-you-want-to-play?’’ scenario: If Dallas loses while heavily-favored Denver beats Memphis, the Nuggets jump up to the No. 7 spot. Almost certainly the Hornets would prefer to play Denver rather than Dallas. (Nevertheless, there is gossip in NO this morning that coach Byron Scott is planning to play his starters no more than half the game. Hmm.)

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Sefko has an article with a bunch of quotes from Cuban about why Dallas can win it all this year.  His best point is also the most obvious.

"And the thing about the West is there's no great teams. Everybody has their ups and downs. Nobody is afraid of anybody, but no one is going to be an odds-on favorite, even one vs. eight."

He kind of lost me here though...

"This year, we're playing our best basketball at the end of the year, which is a nice, nice change."

Dallas just lost consecutive games to non-playoff teams when they still had something play for, and are 5-5 in their last ten (worst of any Western Conference playoff team).   Dallas was playing their best basketball in January, so maybe he just meant this team.

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 Jerry Stackhouse will play tonight.

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Dirk is not worried about his ankle.

"To me, the whole resting thing is overrated," Nowitzki said. "I know if I sit out one or two games, I still know my ankle won't be 100 percent, so it doesn't really make a difference. I'd rather keep my rhythm.

"It's usually stiff when I wake up in the morning, but that doesn't matter if I play a quarter or I play 38 minutes," he said. "I think the pounding of an NBA game is tough on a hurt ankle like that. But it's nothing that a couple of Advils can't fix."

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Bill Simmons has three Mavs on his least valuable players list.

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David Moore tells us his picks for the 07-08 individual awards.  Dirk for second team All -NBA is the only Mav...

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This Day in Mavs History

2003  Finished the 2002-03 season with a record of 60-22.