Mavs not satisfied with win total, streaks

Associated Press • Mar 30, 2007 at 1:03 AM

DALLAS - The Dallas Mavericks have already matched their franchise record with 60 victories, and still have 11 regular-season games left.

The first team to have three 12-game winning streaks in the same season, Dallas needs only two more wins for another stretch of 10 in a row.

Yet, the Mavs don't feel like they've accomplished anything yet.

Forget about trying to become only the second NBA team to win 70 games before the playoffs, even though that could still happen the way Dallas is playing. That's just not the goal.

No, the Mavericks have had an unwavering focus all season - well, really since they blew a 2-0 lead and lost four straight games to Miami in the NBA Finals in June. They want to get back there and get it right this time.

"That's our ultimate goal, but the other thing on our mind is getting better with each game, each practice, each film session," guard Jason Terry said. "We know we have a long way to go before we can have an opportunity to achieve that goal, so it's a long process for us. "

The Mavericks (60-11), who play the New York Knicks on tonight, still haven't clinched the No. 1 seed for the Western Conference playoffs. Their magic number is six - any combination of wins by Dallas and losses by Phoenix, will clinch it for Dallas. Phoenix also plays Dallas on Sunday.

Once the Mavericks take care of that, coach Avery Johnson would like to rest some of his players before the playoffs.

"I have a plan. Once we get locked into our position, that's something we will do," Johnson said. "But until we're locked, I can't talk about it yet."

As good as they've been, it shouldn't take much longer.

Even when the Mavs were in prime position for a letdown - back home without a break after their first 6-0 road trip and Dirk Nowitzki out with a hurt ankle - they pulled out a 105-103 victory Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

That got Dallas to 60 victories for the third time, all in the past five seasons.

"Fifty wins in the Western Conference is tough. To talk about 60 is pretty impressive, especially the way we started," Johnson said.

As good as their record is, the Mavericks started the season with four straight losses for the first time in team history. They are 60-7 (.896 winning percentage) since then.

The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls went 72-10, the only time an NBA team has eclipsed the 70-win mark in the regular season.

"That doesn't matter, all that stuff out there, anything but home-court advantage," Josh Howard said. "At the end of the regular season, everybody is 0-0."

Added Terry: "We're glad the season is finally coming to an end in the next couple of weeks so we can get about our business."

Nowitzki hurt his left ankle when he stepped on another player's foot moving along the baseline against the Bucks. He left with 3:42 left in the first half, then managed only about a minute after halftime before leaving for good.

The Mavericks said Nowitzki got treatment Thursday, an off day for the rest of the team. His status for today's game will be evaluated after the morning shootaround.

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