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Nowitzki back where he belongs as leading scorer, helping Mavericks keep playoff push alive

Dirk Nowitzki finally leads the Dallas Mavericks in scoring again. He has more work to do if he wants to make the playoffs for a 13th straight season.

The 7-foot German passed O.J. Mayo even before getting a season-high 35 and hitting a last-second 3-pointer to complete a stirring rally against Chicago over the weekend.

The Mavericks started winning at a playoff pace once Nowitzki got settled in after missing the first 27 games following the first knee surgery of his career.

But their playoff odds still aren't good going into a critical game Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Lakers. Utah and the Lakers started Monday tied for the final playoff spot in the West, a game a half ahead of Dallas.