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Mavericks at Timberwolves: Game #77

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An afternoon tip today between the Mavs and Wolves at Target Center.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Mavs at Wolves
2:30 pm CDT
FS North

The Wolves yet again face a team scrambling for a playoff spot and in desperate need of wins when the Mavs visit Target Center this afternoon.

The Mavs are currently tied for the 7th/8th spots with Utah in the Western Conference, a game ahead of the Rockets. The top of the West is pretty spread out now, with the top four seeds just about locked in. The Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers are set to take the home court in the first round, with at least four games separating each of them from the teams ahead and behind. The Grizzlies and Blazers are close for the 5th and 6th spots, and it appears the 7th and 8th spots will go to two of the Mavs, Jazz, and Rockets.

The Mavs were looking comfortably in the playoffs at the beginning of March, but a stretch that saw them lose 10 of 12 games sent them tumbling down the standings. They have recovered to win their last three, however, to once again put them in position to grab a spot, albeit likely against one of the two historically great teams playing this season.

The Mavs still have a top ten offense, led by future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, who is having a terrific year at age 37. He can still shoot the ball, and leads the Mavs in scoring. The Mavs as a team take a lot of threes despite being just OK at making them, but also rarely turn the ball over, a combination that makes them potent offensively.

They will likely be missing their two top point guards today, with Deron Williams and Raymond Felton both questionable. In their last game, old friend J.J. Barea was the hero, starting and scoring 29 points in a win in Detroit on Friday.

Chandler Parsons is also out for the season following surgery, and rookie Justin Anderson has recently entered the starting lineup for the Mavs.

The Wolves have lost all three meetings with the Mavs so far this year, so it would be good to get one here in their final opportunity. The last game between these teams, in Dallas at the end of February, resulted in an ugly 128-101 beating in which the Mavs couldn't miss early, scored 39 in the first quarter, and cruised from there. The game was not competitive, and was one of the Wolves' poorest performances post-All-Star break.

Hopefully we get a better showing today.

Expected lineups

Mavs

J.J. Barea
Wesley Matthews
Justin Anderson
Dirk Nowitzki
Zaza Pachulia

Wolves

Ricky Rubio
Zach LaVine
Andrew Wiggins
Gorgui Dieng
Karl-Anthony Towns

Our blogging buddies are over at Mavs Moneyball. Be excellent.

No no and no.

Enjoychatgo.