The Dallas Mavericks are officially out of playoff contention, but still have four games remaining on the slate, starting with Friday's home tilt with the Denver Nuggets.
The Mavericks had reached the postseason 12 straight years, last missing back in 1999-00, and won it all in 2010-11. They had a modest two-game winning streak stopped with Wednesday's 102-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Shawn Marion scored a team-high 22 points and Dirk Nowitzki followed with 21 for the Mavericks, who have lost three of five games and shot 40 percent from the floor. Vince Carter tallied 18 points off the bench for a Dallas team that did not win any quarter.
"I guess we just under estimated them tonight and they came in here and got a win. They were on a 10-game losing streak I think and they played a back to back last night and came in here and won," Marion said.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said it was disappointing not to reach the .500 mark and hopes his team can stay focused over the last four games. Dallas is in foreign territory not preparing for a playoff run and is 22-16 in Big D.
The Mavs will play New Orleans twice and Memphis to wrap up the season.
Denver is one of the hottest teams in the league and just defeated the mighty San Antonio Spurs, 96-86, on Wednesday.
Andre Iguodala had a triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, while Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer scored 29 and 28 points, respectively, for the Nuggets, who have won five in a row and 20 of the last 22 games. Chandler has taken over for injured forward Danilo Gallinari, who's out for the season with a torn knee ligament.
The Nuggets are aiming for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs and currently sit third in the West standings -- one game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies.
"We need homecourt in the first round, so we're going to get every win we can get," Brewer said after Denver's 21st win in a row at home.
Brewer has scored 20-plus points in three straight games.
Denver point guard Ty Lawson has missed five straight and eight of nine games with a nagging heel injury and is questionable Friday. He leads the Nuggets with 16.7 ppg.
The Nuggets have never won 55 games in a season since moving to the NBA and are 32-3 when allowing fewer than 100 points in a game.
The Nuggets look for a three-game season sweep of the Mavericks Friday and just posted a 95-94 win over Dallas on April 4 in the Rockies. Iguodala made the game-winning layup with 2.8 seconds remaining and Brewer blocked Anthony Morrow's potential game-winning 3-point attempt at the end.
Denver last swept Dallas in a season series in 2008-09 (4-0).