DALLAS (AP) -Dirk Nowitzki swished a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left, breaking a tie and giving the Dallas Mavericks a 97-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Thursday night that also clinched a playoff berth.
Dallas got in on the combination of the victory and Golden State losing to Denver. With three games left, the Mavericks have a two-game edge on the Nuggets for the No. 7 seed.
Nowitzki scored 32 points for the second time in five games since returning from knee and ankle injuries. The victory wasn't sealed until Deron Williams, who banked in a tying 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left, missed a long 3 with Nowitzki flying at him.
Nuggets 114, Warriors 105
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Allen Iverson scored 33 points, J.R. Smith added 24 off the bench and the Denver Nuggets took control of the race for the final playoff spot.
The win moved Denver (48-31) a full game ahead of the Warriors in the race for eighth place in the West with only three games remaining. The Nuggets also control the tiebreaker, meaning they can clinch their fifth straight playoff berth by winning two of their final three games.
Golden State (47-32) probably will need to win its final three games and hope Denver loses twice to avoid the distinction of being the winningest team ever to miss the NBA playoffs. Houston won 45 games in 2000-01.
Lakers 106, Clippers 78
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Luke Walton scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and the Lakers won their fifth in six games.
The victory moved the Lakers (54-25) within 1 1/2 games of the Western Conference-leading New Orleans Hornets entering Friday night's showdown between the teams. The Hornets play three of their last four games on the road while the Lakers finish with three at home.
Kobe Bryant scored 16 points for the Lakers, who blew the game open by outscoring the Clippers 32-11 to finish the third quarter and start the fourth for a 94-67 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left.
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