DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks host the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. with a lot on the line on the second night of a back-to-back. Each of the Mavs' six games left in the regular season is crucial for Dallas to keep its grip on the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and avoid the NBA Playoffs play-in tournament.
The Mavericks reached 10 games over .500 for the first time this season at 38-28 with an upset win over the Brooklyn Nets Thursday night. ... While Cleveland suffered their eighth straight loss and their 11th defeat in the last 12 games as they were walloped by Portland at home Wednesday night. The Cavaliers have been eliminated from playoff contention as they stand tied for 13th with Orlando.
But the Mavs? They suddenly own the NBA’s ninth-best record and have as a magic number to clinch the division title ... one.
"That postseason energy, that postseason atmosphere, that postseason grit that you have to be willing to have moving forward going into that part of the season," said Mavs guard Tim Hardaway Jr. "I think everyone knows it is crunch time and it is time to build up to that postseason edge and get ready for that.”
PORZINGIS' STATUS: Kristaps Porzingis (right knee soreness) missed his third consecutive game and Coach Rick Carlisle said he is doubtful for the game vs. the Cavs, but making progress. Carlisle said he expects Porzingis to play regular-season games but then this about the option of sitting Porzingis until the playoffs:
“Time is of the essence. We can’t rush Mother Nature, ever. That’s a given. But we’re looking to get him back when he’s ready to be back.”
ODDS: The Mavs entered the day as 10.5-point favorites to the Cavs, and the total over/under is N/A.
RECORDS: Dallas Mavericks (38-28) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (21-45)
WHEN: Friday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. CT
LOCATION: American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)
TV/RADIO: TNT, BSSW, ESPN 103.3 FM, Univision 1270 AM
FINAL WORD: Coach Rick Carlisle after the Mavs upset win vs. the Nets:
"We’ve got a little momentum here, we’ve got to keep it going. The game tomorrow is obviously very, very important because of everything that is going on with the standings. We’ll get some rest and do our best to be ready.”