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NBA ROUNDUP

Sweet 16 is a clinch for the Mavericks

The Mavericks have a 16-game winning streak and a playoff berth after their 102-89 victory over the New Jersey Nets last night in Dallas.

The Mavericks have won 23 in a row at home. They are a league-best 51-9, with only two losses since Dec. 12. They'll get to rest on their success and savor being the first team to clinch a playoff spot, because they don't play again until Sunday night.

New Jersey was within a point after scoring with 1:23 left in third quarter, but didn't score again for more than six minutes, missing nine straight shots. Dallas stretched the lead to 10 and held on the rest of the way.

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Erick Dampier had 14 rebounds and 12 points, including a tough put-back of a miss by Nowitzki that put Dallas up, 95-86, with a little more than a minute left.

Timberwolves 117, Lakers 107 -- In Minneapolis, Mark Blount's improbable 3-point prowess couldn't have come at a better time for Minnesota.

The Timberwolves center hit three straight 3-pointers in the final 2:20 of regulation and Minnesota overcame 40 points from Kobe Bryant in a thrilling double-overtime victory.

Bryant scored 40 for the first time since Jan. 31, his longest 40-point drought of the season, and added 13 rebounds and eight assists. But he managed just 3 points in the overtimes as the Lakers let one slip away.

Ricky Davis led Minnesota with 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Wizards 129, Raptors 109 -- Gilbert Arenas scored 25 points in his best shooting game since December, and host Washington won a matchup of first-place teams by dominating the boards, 49-27.

SuperSonics 100, Knicks 99 -- Rashard Lewis made the go-ahead 3-pointer, and visiting Seattle beat New York when Stephon Marbury missed a free throw with 0.9 seconds left.

Spurs 99, Trail Blazers 94 -- Tim Duncan had 24 points and San Antonio hit five 3-pointers in a row to overtake host Portland for its 10th straight victory.

Nuggets 106, Hornets 91-- In Denver, Allen Iverson scored 25 points and Carmelo Anthony added 21 in the Nuggets' win over New Orleans/Oklahoma City.

Kings 102, Pacers 98 -- Kevin Martin scored 27 points for host Sacramento, stepping up in the absence of Ron Artest, who was arrested in a domestic violence incident Monday.

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