<
>

Mavs inching closer to capturing No. 2 seed

Some wild stuff is going on as teams jockey for position in the Western Conference standings. Take the San Antonio Spurs. One night after an inexplicable home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, they turn around and bury the Nuggets in Denver.

Not that the Dallas Mavericks mind. Assuming the Mavs hold on to their sizeable lead in Sacramento, they'll virtually be able to kiss the Nuggets good-bye in the race for the No. 2 seed and turn their attention to the idle Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.

If the Mavs beat the Kings, Utah (52-28) would fall one full game behind Dallas. Phoenix (51-28) would drop 1 1/2 games back. The key is the Jazz, unlike the Nuggets and Suns, hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Mavs.

Suddenly a Mavs-Spurs first-round series seems awfully likely. But, hold that thought, this is the wild, wild West and anything can happen.

Here's the remaining schedules for the fighting four:

Dallas: @LAC (Mon); vs. San Antonio (Wed)

Phoenix: vs. Houston (Sun); vs. Denver (Tues); @Utah (Wed)

Denver: vs. Memphis (Mon); @Phoenix (Tue)

Utah: @Golden State (Tues); vs. Phoenix (Wed)