NBA Matchup: New York Knicks @ Dallas Mavericks

New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks Thurs. March 10, 2011 9:30 p.m. EST

The NBA regular season is in the final stretch now and every game from here on out is huge for every playoff bound team in the league. With that being said, the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks will be playing for playoff position on Thursday night as they try to clinch the highest seed possible in the Eastern and Western conferences.

Ever since the blockbuster trade between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks went down before the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 24, Melo and company have played well in the Big Apple with some fairly big wins against playoff bound teams like the Miami Heat, but they will definitely have their work cut out for them on Thursday night when they head to Dallas to take on the second seeded Mavs.

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The New York Knicks have been red hot as of late as they have won seven of their last ten games and two straight coming into this matchup. With Carmelo Anthony getting more and more comfortable with this team, the Knicks

Keith Van Horn, Dallas Mavericks

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could be very dangerous coming down the stretch as we get closer and closer to playoff time.

As of right now, the New York Knicks are the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, but they will have an opportunity to move up in the final stretch of the NBA regular season with the Atlanta Hawks (fifth seed, lost three straight), Orlando Magic (fourth seed, lost two straight) and the Miami Heat (third seed, lost five straight) all struggling right now.

With Melo and company still be three games behind the Hawks for the fifth seed, they will need to continue to capitalize on Atlanta recent slump by winning as many basketball games as possible from here on out.

The Dallas Mavericks on the other hand could be in desperation mode sooner rather than later. Dirk Nowitzki and company may have won nine of their last ten games, but the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the hottest team in the league right now and are just one game behind the second seeded Dallas Mavericks.

With the Lakers hot on their trail, the Mavs will need to stay hot with some big wins over the next few weeks. The one thing that the Mavs will be thinking about during this matchup with the revamped Knicks will be their matchup with the defending champs on Saturday, but if they can’t get the best of New York on Thursday, they will be in danger of dropping to third in the Western Conference with the loss to the Lakers this weekend.

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With that being said, this game against the New York Knicks will be huge in terms of keeping their high seed in the Western Conference. The one thing that will be a big concern for the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday will be matching up with Carmelo Anthony on the perimeter and containing Amare Stoudemire in the paint.

The one advantage I see for the Dallas Mavericks coming into this game is that they are a much deeper basketball team. With their depth they might be able to just wear down the Knicks and pull out the win.

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