Twitter reacts to Stephen Curry’s game-winner against Dallas Mavericks

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With the season winding down and holding just a 1 1/2 game lead over the trailing Dallas Mavericks, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors could ill-afford to lose Tuesday’s game on the road at the American Airlines Center.

After an inexplicable loss against the New York Knicks on Sunday, the Warriors knew another loss – particularly to the Mavericks – would put them in a neck and neck battle for the remainder of the season with three other teams just to make it back to the playoffs. Golden State came out blazing and shot 55 percent or better from the field for much of the game despite having to play without David Lee and Andrew Bogut, but Dallas was ready for the challenge. Dirk Nowitzki, for the most part, had his way with 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field – including six-of-eight from the 3-point line –  to go with 11 rebounds and three assists. Monta Ellis was also highly effective against his former team with 27 points and six assists. The Warriors countered with a number of weapons: Klay Thompson had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists, Andre Iguodala had 16 points on seven-of-nine shooting to go with eight rebounds and seven assists, Jermaine O’Neal turned back the clock with 20 points and eight rebounds, Jordan Crawford had 19 points on an impressive seven-of-10 shooting, and Draymond Green did a bit of everything with nine points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.

In the end, though, Curry would have the final say, as he launched a shot over Jose Calderon with virtually no time left on the clock in overtime. 

Bernucca: Feeling the Heat, Pacers Had To Make a Move

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Lance StephensonAll season, the Indiana Pacers have maintained that homecourt advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, and their chemistry will give them a great chance to dethrone the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.

Are both slipping away?

In the last two weeks, Indiana’s grip on the East’s best record has loosened considerably. And the Pacers’  big move at Thursday’s trading deadline, acquiring Evan Turner, illustrated that their belief in chemistry may have been overstated.

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Gambling on the Western Conference: A Free-For-All

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The Western Conference is absolutely nothing like the Eastern Conference when it comes to championship odds.

We have what I call a two-horse race in the East versus what I am going to call the six-plus team race in the West.

In the 15 previous seasons, only four teams (the Lakers, seven times; the Spurs, five times, the Mavericks, two times; the Thunder, once)  have won the Western Conference, which is a similar concept to what the Eastern Conference has gone through recently, as I outlined in this column laying out the loooong odds on anyone not from Miami or Indiana winning the East.

Hubbard: Mavericks Quietly off to Surprising Good Start

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Mark_Cuban_2011A little more than a month has passed in the NBA season, but it seems like we’ve already had a full year of distractions, both good and bad. Portland great; Indiana even better. The Knicks and Nets taking turns who’s bad and who’s worse. Kobe close to returning; Rose out for the year. Dwayne Wade hurting; the Atlantic Division hurting even more.

Meanwhile, the last team other than the Miami Heat to win a championship is quietly turning into a solid team, which is interesting for two reasons.

1. How is it that anything Mark Cuban owns is quiet?

2. After winning their first title, the Mavericks took such an unusual approach in trying to win a second.

Preseason Playoff Picture: Western Conference

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Dirk NowitzkiIn a teleconference last week, we asked NBA analysts Chris Webber and Greg Anthony to pick a Western Conference team which missed the playoffs last season but will make the playoffs this season.

“Dallas, mainly because of Dirk Nowitzki,” Webber said. “He’ll be back healthy. What he does, with spacing, getting guys involved … We take his game for granted.”

“I would go with the Pelicans,” Anthony said. “I think that’s a team that could make sizeable leaps and surprise a lot of people.”

Both those teams are certainly among the half-dozen in the hunt for what appears to be two postseason spots up for grabs in the West. Those spots belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, who also remain in the running despite taking some backward steps in the offseason.

Without getting into seeding specifics, the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets look like mortal locks to be playing in May.

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