For weeks, the Dallas Mavericks have been doing all they can to avoid a first-round matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, using their best stretch of the season to step out of that.On Monday night, they almost wasted it – against a lottery team, no less.Trailing the Minnesota Timberwolves by seven points with 3:13 left, Dirk Nowitzki got his teammates going, then Jason Terry finished off the rally by swishing an 18-foot jumper from the right side with 0.2 seconds left for a 96-94 victory.“The guys stuck together and said, ‘There’s a lot on the line here. Let’s find a way.’ And that’s exactly what they did,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.A loss would’ve knocked Dallas out of the running for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and given Utah a clear path to No. 7.Now, the Mavs go into the finale on Wednesday night – at home, against Houston – with a win wrapping up No. 7 and a chance to get No. 6 if they win and New Orleans loses in San Antonio.“This was one we had to get,” said Nowitzki, who had 34 points and nine rebounds.The Hornets were getting drubbed by the Rockets on… Read full this story
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