Tuesday's NBA Guide: Mavs vs. Suns

NBA Guide gives you a daily look at all the games that matter ... and some that don't.

Dallas at Phoenix, 10PM ET

There's no other way to put it: this game is a must-win for the Suns. Sure, the team might downplay their home game against the Mavericks, but considering the fact that Phoenix trails Dallas by four games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, they really can't afford to take that approach.

With just 19 games left in the regular season, it's important for the Suns not to fall out of the playoff race by five games, which is what would happen if the team suffered a fifth consecutive loss this evening.

Now admittedly, Phoenix has been competitive over their last four, despite losing them all to playoff teams from both the East and the West. And they're facing a Dallas squad that has some problems of their own, especially when it comes to winning on the road.

The Mavericks haven't beaten a Western Conference opponent on the road since December 28 -- a stretch of nine games. And with Josh Howard out of the lineup due to an ankle injury, it will be difficult to keep that streak from reaching 10.

New York at Milwaukee, 8PM ET

This is another matchup that has playoff implications for the eighth spot, although it's much more of an open race in the East than it is in the West. The Knicks are one of five teams that trail the Bucks for the conference's final spot that all may believe they still have time to overtake them.

New York trails Milwaukee by just a single game in the loss column (but five in the win ccolumn), so NBA math says that with a win tonight, the Knicks will be just two games out of a playoff spot.

But it has to start tonight, and winning would be something new for the Knicks, at least recently. New York is just 4-12 over their last 16, but the Bucks have won just three of their last 10. Doesn't anyone want to get swept by the Cavs in the first round?

Utah at Indiana, 7PM ET

@NBA passes along this fun fact, via Twitter: "In one hour in Indy, the Jazz go for their 12th straight W for the first time in nearly 12 years."

Charlotte at San Antonio, 8:30PM ET
Oklahoma City at Sacramento, 10PM ET
Cleveland at L.A. Clippers, 10:30PM ET

Tuesday's NBA Guide: Mavs vs. Suns originally appeared on NBA FanHouse on Tue, 10 Mar 2009 18:05:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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