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Mavs Look To Close Playoff Gap in Denver

Dec 29, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) dunks in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Mavericks won 101-89. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) dunks in the second half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Mavericks won 101-89. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 19, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) shoots the ball over Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 19, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic (15) shoots the ball over Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

Tonight the red-hot Dallas Mavericks (20-30) will take on the Denver Nuggets (22-28) in a road test with potential playoff implications.

This will be the third matchup of the season between Dallas and Denver. The teams have split the previous two meetings, with each team winning on their home court. However, Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t played in either game, which is relatively important since Dirk is a human that is very good at putting a round ball through a hoop.

In the month and a half since their last meeting, a lot has changed. The Mavs have picked up some momentum and are one of the hottest teams in the league. Cellar dwellers for most of the season, the Mavs are two games back of the final playoff seed. A lineup change putting Dirk at center and the improved play of Seth Curry, Wesley Matthews, and new addition Yogi Ferrell has sparked the Mavs offense. The Mavs are riding a four game winning streak with wins over Portland, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and San Antonio.

Meanwhile, Denver is 5-5 in their last 10 games, with wins over Milwaukee, Phoenix, Utah, and Los Angeles. The Nuggets own the third best offense in the league, and average around 110 points per game. However, they are 28th in the league defensively, allowing around 112 points per game.

Here are the three keys to the game.

Next: Contain Nikola Jokic

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