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Nowitzki, Mavericks continue push to the postseason

Apr 8, 2008 - 2:02 PM Seattle (18-59) at Dallas (48-29) 8:30 pm EDT

DALLAS (Ticker) - An injury to Dirk Nowitzki and a lack of success against teams with a winning record had the Dallas Mavericks spiraling toward the bottom of the Western Conference playoff standings last week.

But the reigning Most Valuable Player has made an early return and the Mavericks will be after their fourth win in five games when they host the Seattle SuperSonics on Tuesday.

Dallas defeated Golden State last Wednesday in Nowitzki's first game back from a high ankle sprain and used a big fourth quarter to post a 105-98 victory at Phoenix on Sunday.

The Mavericks, who are now 2-11 against teams with a winning record since the trade for Jason Kidd, outscored the Suns, 27-9, in the final period. Dallas had lost its first 10 games against winning teams with the veteran point guard.

Nowitzki had 32 points and 12 rebounds and Josh Howard scored 24 points for Dallas, which holds a two-game lead over both Denver (46-31) and Golden State (46-31) for seventh place in the West.

The Sonics, who own the worst record in the West, are coming off a 151-147 double-overtime victory over the Nuggets on Sunday, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green each had season highs for Seattle, scoring 37 and 35 points, respectively, in the win.