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2011 NBA Playoff Picture: Mavs Would Host Blazers If Season Ended Today

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The 2011 NBA playoff picture for the Dallas Mavericks is pretty cut and dry considering they've already clinched a playoff berth and are out of the running to win the Southwest Division (San Antonio locked that up a few games back), but there are still plenty of reasons to follow their games right up to next Wednesday's finale.

Over the course of the next week, Dallas will have the opportunity to potentially play spoiler to three other teams trying to settle into playoff spots of their own as the Denver Nuggets -- Wednesday's opponent -- are still attempting to make it into the top four of the Western Conference and neither the New Orleans Hornets or Houston Rockets have been able to secure their ticket to the NBA playoffs quite yet.

In fact, the season finale against the Hornets could become a preview of the Mavericks' first round match-up if things fall into place because New Orleans trails the Portland Trail Blazers -- Dallas' current first round opponent -- by just one game in the standings. For a closer look, check out NBA.com's Playoff Picture.

Regardless, Dallas is going to the playoffs and tickets are already available.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.