The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks have their sights set on the postseason, but both have some work left to do to get there.
These playoff hopefuls will try to inch closer to locking up spots when they close their season series Tuesday night in Dallas.
Banged-up Golden State (45-28) has followed a three-game winning streak by dropping two of three, falling 89-84 to New York on Sunday. Stephen Curry scored 32 points but the Warriors shot 35.4 percent, their second-worst mark this season.
"Any loss in the end of March and April is tough. We’ve got to keep our heads up. We always say don’t get too down on nights like this when you still have (nine) games to play to continue to figure it out," said Curry, averaging 29.0 points and 52.9 percent shooting in the last four games.
"We’ve got a great opportunity to go get two on the road against two good teams. They’re both still playing for something at this point of the season, so we’ve got to get our mojo back."
Golden State, which visits NBA-leading San Antonio on Wednesday, is vying with Phoenix, Dallas (44-30) and Memphis for the last three playoff spots in the Western Conference. The Warriors have been without All-Star David Lee (hamstring) for the last two games, and fellow big man Andrew Bogut sat out against the Knicks with a bruise in his groin and pelvic area. Both are uncertain to play Tuesday.
"You can’t ignore the fact that we’re short-handed. … We got guys who can’t play. We got guys that can’t run. Our job is to take care of business until those guys get healthy," coach Mark Jackson said. "We will regroup and look forward to taking care of business on the road."
Dallas improved to 4-3 on its franchise-record eight-game homestand after escaping with a 103-100 win over Sacramento on Saturday. The Mavericks, who led by 17 late in the second quarter, trailed by five with just over four minutes left in the game before storming back.
Dallas has dropped six games this season when leading by at least 16 points.
"It’s unfortunate it’s been part of our DNA, and I just feel like we’re going to snap out of it," coach Rick Carlisle said. "And I know we have to. So I’m a very positive thinker on this."
Dirk Nowitzki led six Mavericks in double figures with 19 points, adding a season high-tying seven of the team’s 28 assists. Dallas allowed the Kings to shoot 51.9 percent and was outscored 60-38 in the paint.
"They made a game of it, but we were able to pull it out this time and any win counts," forward Shawn Marion told the team’s official website. "You can’t think about the negatives of it. Any W going in that win column is big for us."
The Mavericks have dropped back-to-back games to the Warriors, though both defeats came in Oakland. Dallas has taken 10 of 12 in the series at home while averaging 110.0 points and allowing 96.5.
The Warriors will be the Mavericks’ fourth likely playoff-bound opponent in five games.
"We’ve got to push it," center Samuel Dalembert said. "We have to go out every night and fight, try to get anything we can get and see if we can get that second chance."