A win this afternoon would give the Mavericks their longest winning streak of the season. Whether that happens could depend on whether and who the Clippers decide to rest. What can we expect to see?
What happened last time these two teams met?
This will be the fourth and final match-up against the Clippers this season. LA leads the series 2-1, but the lone win for the Mavs was one of the more emotionally satisfying of the season, handing DeAndre Jordan a loss in his first visit to American Airlines Center since wrecking Dallas' offseason.
Unfortunately, the Clippers' last visit was less satisfying, ending in a nearly 20-point loss for Dallas.
What have the Clippers done lately?
The Clippers are locked into the four seed and have been taking it easy the last few games, resting their players in anticipation of a tough playoff run. But despite a close call against Utah, the team has still managed to win eight of its last 10 games.
Also, after missing Blake Griffin for over half the season thanks to a combination of injuries and suspension, the Clippers have had their starting power forward back for three of its last four games.
What are the playoff implications for this game?
For the Clippers, there are none. The Clippers will have the fourth seed regardless of their (or anyone else's) performance over the final few games of the season, so the Mavericks may not have to face the team at full force tonight. For their part, the Mavs may be without Deron Williams (who's been upgraded from out to doubtful) and J.J. Barea, whose scoring has been carrying the team during their recent winning streak.
Their absence would be unfortunate since the Mavericks still have a shot at the sixth seed, which would allow them to avoid Golden State and San Antonio and give the team its best shot at advancing to the second round. And although they can still earn the sixth seed without a win tonight, a victory over the Clippers would mean Dallas is less dependent on the results of games the team doesn't play in.
For more a more complete picture of the Mavericks' playoff chances, check out our coverage here.
How to watch
Today's game tips off early, at 2:30 p.m. Central and can be seen on NBA TV.