<
>

Dirk leads way with 29; Dallas 7-1 under Johnson

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Dallas Mavericks wrapped up a playoff
spot, while the Philadelphia 76ers missed a chance to open up some
breathing room.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points, going 14-for-14 from the foul
line, and former Philadelphia player Keith Van Horn added 15 points
to help the Mavericks clinch a playoff spot with a 100-83 victory
over the 76ers on Friday night.

"I haven't been around a playoff team, so I'm getting to learn
what it's all about," said Jason Terry, who will make his first
career playoff appearance after spending his first five seasons
with the Atlanta Hawks. "It's huge for my career. I want to get
out on a pedestal and show the world what I can do."

The Mavericks, fourth in the Western Conference, won their
fourth straight game to improve to 7-1 since Avery Johnson replaced
Don Nelson as head coach on March 19.

"Our defense was really good," Johnson said. "We were
physical and did a good job clogging up the lane."

The 76ers, who have lost three straight, have a half-game lead
over New Jersey for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. New
Jersey beat New York on Friday night.

"We had an opportunity to pretty much secure our position, and
we didn't take advantage of that," Aaron McKie said. "So it's
going to come down to the last week."

Allen Iverson scored 22 points for the 76ers before sitting out
the fourth quarter because of a strained groin. Marc Jackson also
had 22 points for Philadelphia.

"We have to start making a couple of shots," 76ers coach Jim
O'Brien said. "We keep an offensive chart -- red is a bad look,
black is a make, and green is a good look that is missed. There was
a lot of green on there tonight."

The Sixers were just 2-for-20 from 3-point range, and their
starting frontcourt was only 3-for-21 from the field.

"They made shots. We didn't," McKie said. "Our effort was
there. We were out there trying -- it just didn't go our way."

The 76ers played without Chris Webber for the second time since
acquiring him from Sacramento in February. Webber is expected to
miss at least two more games after spraining his left shoulder
against Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Game notes
Iverson will be re-evaluated Saturday. Iverson also missed
the last 5:23 of the first half because of the groin injury. ...
Dallas improved its road record to 25-11, third best in the NBA.
... Mavericks center Eric Dampier returned after missing three
games with a hip flexor. He finished with 10 rebounds and five
points.