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Dallas Mavericks Face Tight Race In Western Conference Playoff Standings

Tonight's matchup takes importance not only from the standpoint of two Texas rivals facing off, but also because of their current standings in the NBA's Western Conference.

The Mavericks are in sixth place in the standings, but only half a game above the Houston Rockets in the standings. There is just a half game separating the fourth place Memphis Grizzlies and the Denver Nuggets who currently are on the outside looking in at the current playoff standings.

It's a pivotal time for the Mavericks as they face the Rockets in back-to-back games, before going on the road to face the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.

Looking even further, of the 17 games left in the regular season for Dallas, seven of those games will be against teams that are within a half game of the Mavericks in the standings.

Settle in folks as things are only going to get heated up as we head down the home stretch.

For continued discussion, head on over Mavs Moneyball, your home for Dallas Mavericks talk on the SB Nation network of blogs.

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