Warriors visit Dallas in crucial Western showdown

( - A huge matchup with plenty of playoff implications in the Western Conference takes place Tuesday night when the Golden State Warriors visit American Airlines Center to take on the Dallas Mavericks.

The Warriors currently reside in the sixth spot out west, but they are just 1 1/2 games ahead of not only Dallas, but the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies as well. All three teams are tied for the seventh seed.

"You feel like you have some breathing room, you have one slip up, a team is right on your heels," Warriors' guard Klay Thompson said after practice Monday. "That's the beauty of this game. That's what makes the Western Conference so special I think."

Golden State completed a five-game homestand with an 89-84 loss Sunday to the New York Knicks. The Warriors went 3-2 with the other loss coming against the scorching-hot San Antonio Spurs.

Golden State will play those same Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday to polish off a short road trip.

Against the Knicks, Stephen Curry scored a game-high 32 points, Thompson added 15 and Andre Iguodala finished with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds for the Warriors.

"We had breakdowns defensively. They have guys that can score the basketball and when they get it going they're one of the best at their position offensively," said head coach Mark Jackson.

Warriors forward David Lee missed the game against the Knicks with a strained right hamstring. Jackson said he'll make the trip, but doesn't expect to have him on Tuesday. Andrew Bogut also sat versus the Knicks and his availability is unknown.

The Mavs have alternated losses and wins over their last six and Tuesday's contest ends a franchise-record, eight-game homestand. Dallas is only 4-3 thus far on this residency.

On Saturday, Dirk Nowitzki had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the Mavericks to a 103-100 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Monta Ellis added 17 points, Samuel Dalembert scored 15 and Shawn Marion finished with 14 for the Mavericks. Jose Calderon chipped in 11 and Vince Carter managed 10 off the bench.

"It's huge, every single game counts. We're trying to fight for a playoff spot. We've gotta push it, we've gotta control what we can control," said Dalembert.

The Kings did shoot 52 percent from the floor on Saturday, but the Mavericks forced 20 turnovers and scored 25 points off those miscues.

The Warriors have won two of three against the Mavericks this season, but both of those victories came at Oracle Arena. Dallas has taken two straight at home in this series and six of the last seven.