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Mavericks, Suns close out lackluster seasons
The season mercifully comes to end for the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, who finish Tuesday night at American Airlines Center with not much on the line.
The Mavericks (24-57) actually have a little more to play for, if needing a loss counts as incentive. A loss means Dallas clinches at least the third-worst record in the league.
Phoenix (20-61) has already clinched the worst record and therefore has the best odds to win the draft lottery.
Both teams will be sending out lineups deep with roster hopefuls for next season. The Mavs, already without Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea, are listing Dennis Smith Jr. and Dwight Powell as questionable.
Smith, though, is listed as a probable starter and is coming off 20 points and 11 assists in Sunday's loss at Philadelphia.
"My teammates did a good job of making shots (and) rolling to the rim," Smith said. "That opened up a lot of opportunities for me to find a man in the corner, or even find a roller. They did a pretty good job of helping me out."
Smith has had a standout rookie season. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle expects more improvement this offseason.
"In the NBA at the point guard position, you've got to improve on everything all the time," Carlisle said. "This summer will be an effort to refine skills, shooting floaters, reads -- all those kinds of things.
"Defensively, he's come light years. That might be his biggest area of growth, which is a big statement, because he's grown a lot on the offensive side as well."
Powell (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Maxi Kleber (11 points, 10 boards) also had double-doubles against the Sixers.
Harrison Barnes is expected to go in the finale after scoring a game-high 25 points in a season-high 43 minutes in his last game. He couldn't remember the last time he played as many as 43 minutes.
"It's been a while," he said. "I felt it, but it was good. The shots didn't fall early, but this season has come with its own adversity."
Mavs reserve center Salah Mejri (right knee contusion) may play against the Suns.
Phoenix didn't suit up Devin Booker, Tyson Chandler, Marquese Chriss, Josh Jackson, Elfrid Payton, T.J. Warren and Alan Williams for its final home game Sunday, a 117-100 loss to Golden State.
"The guys that played, they played the right way, they play hard," coach Jay Triano said. "We're trying to figure out who fits where in the organization as we move forward, and I think they're all continuing to battle and give an honest effort."
Danuel House Jr., making his second career start, scored a career-high 22 points to go along with eight rebounds. House went undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2016.
"With the opportunity to play, he's shown that he knows how to play the game," Triano said. "I think he's a guy that's used this opportunity to showcase what he can do."
Phoenix is going for its first sweep of Dallas since 1997-98. The Suns' four-game winning streak in the series is their longest since nine straight from 1997 to 1999.
Updated April 9, 2018