Updated: Sunday, 13 April 2014 13:44 | By Agence France-Presse

Mavericks return to the postseason

Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half and Monta Ellis tallied 37 as the Dallas Mavericks beat Phoenix 101-98 to clinch a playoff berth on Saturday.


Mavericks return to the postseason

Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after making a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center on April 12, 2014 in Dallas, Texas - by Tom Pennington

By winning their final home game of the season, the Mavericks left Phoenix and the Memphis Grizzlies to fight it out for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Brandan Wright finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for the Mavericks, who are back in the postseason after they had a 12-year streak snapped last season.

Eric Bledsoe finished with 29 points, six assists and four steals, while Channing Frye poured in 21 points for Phoenix, which is one-half game behind the Grizzlies.

The Suns host Memphis on Monday.

Dallas trailed by as many as 13 early in the second half. But Nowitzki's layup with 6:42 to go in the fourth staked it to its first lead, 88-87, since halfway through the second quarter.

The Mavs built their advantage to 99-91 with 2:25 remaining, but Bledsoe drove in for a layup, Markieff Morris sunk a pair of foul shots and Bledsoe's three-point play whittled the deficit to 99-98 with 52 seconds remaining in the fourth.

Ellis split a pair of free throws with 20.9 seconds left to make it 100-98 and Wright blocked Bledsoe's driving layup on Phoenix's next possession.

Ellis again connected from the free-throw line and Morris failed on a potentially tying triple in the final seconds.

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