Mavericks need to reverse fortunes against best in West as they pursue return to playoffs

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Dirk Nowitzki joked after a loss to San Antonio that the Mavericks don't "want to see anyone" in the playoffs with their recent record against winning teams.

Dallas hasn't beaten any of its likely first-round opponents in more than two months — and that's assuming the Mavericks get in after a 12-year streak of reaching the playoffs ended last season.

At the moment, Dallas is one of four teams in a tight battle for the final three playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Nowitzki says the Mavericks need to beat the best in the West "not necessarily just for confidence but also because we want to stay in the playoff hunt."

Dallas will have several chances in a difficult stretch of the schedule.