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Dallas Mavericks Face Utah, Clinch Playoff Berth With Win

Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) dribbles as Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton (2) defends during the game at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) dribbles as Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton (2) defends during the game at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Dallas Mavericks face the Utah Jazz Monday, with a win guaranteeing themselves a spot in this year’s postseason.

For a while there it looked like the Dallas Mavericks would be going fishing early. But after a six-game winning streak, the Mavs are once again in control of their own destiny.

Dallas faces the eighth-place Utah Jazz at their place on Monday, with plans on locking up a spot in this year’s postseason. For the Mavericks it’s simple: win and you’re in.

But getting that win might not be so simple.

The Jazz won’t light up the scoreboard, but the young team defends very well and plays a slower pace any team in the entire league. With J.J. Barea questionable for the contest (20.5 points, 4.5 assists in last 5 games), somebody is going to have to pick up the slack.

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Deron Williams did his best to do that in Sunday’s loss to the Clippers.

Williams made his return from an eight-game absence to score 15 points (6-11 FG) with Barea on the sideline with a groin injury. Williams will need to keep that going against the team that drafted him.

It’s been “Next Man Up” for the Mavericks all season long, and whether it’s Salah Mejri matching the length and shot blocking of Rudy Gobert, Justin Anderson coming in and giving Gordon Hayward problems defensively, or some combination of Raymond Felton and Devin Harris providing the backcourt bench scoring, it’s easy to be optimistic about Dallas’ chances of locking up a playoff berth.

The game tips off at 8:00 pm ct.

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