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Western Conference Standings: Mavs Sit In 6th, But Far From Safe

Wednesday night's win over the Rockets helped Dallas get one step closer to the playoffs, but the defending champions have not locked up a spot yet.

The Mavs entered the night in seventh place, but the win over Houston plus Denver's loss to the Clippers moved Dallas into sixth place with a 35-28 record.

With three games remaining, the Mavs are 2 1/2 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for fifth place, but the focus should be on just getting into the playoffs. Dallas is 1/2 game up on the Nuggets, who sit in seventh, and two games up on Utah, which sits in eighth. Behind the Jazz, the Suns and Rockets are outside of the playoffs, but just 1/2 game behind Utah and 2 1/2 games behind the Mavs, so the playoff picture is far from clear.

The Mavs obviously are in the best position among teams that have yet to clinch a playoff berth, but the final two games for Dallas are at Chicago and Atlanta, two of the top teams in the East, and Dallas has struggled on the road this season. The final week of the regular season should be quite exciting.

For more on the Dallas Mavericks, check out Mavs Moneyball.

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