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NBA - US Sports: Minnesota face keys Mavs clash

Minnesota Timberwolves entertain Dallas Mavericks on Friday in a crucial game in the battle for the top six seeds in the Western Conference.

Minnesota are 20/27 to win in the Money Line and the Mavericks can be backed at 23/20.

Play-in tournament possible

The Timberwolves sit in seventh spot in the West and their hopes of avoiding the play-in tournament and claiming a top-six finish have been hit by back-to-back defeats at Dallas and then at home to Phoenix Suns.

Minnesota lost by just two points at the Mavs earlier this week and will be looking to settle the score when the two teams meet at the Target Center on Friday.

The Mavs sit in fifth spot and are three-and-a-half games ahead of Minnesota.

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Dallas have nine regular season games left and the Timberwolves have eight, a win for the Mavs on Friday would almost certainly be enough for them to avoid the play-in tournament, but a defeat would leave them vulnerable.

Minnesota can still catch Denver in sixth regardless of how they fare on Friday as they are just one game behind the Nuggets, but they will be keen to keep as many teams as possible involved in the battle for the remaining automatic play-off spots as the regular season winds down.

Hornets-Jazz meeting key

There are six other games on Friday and Utah Jazz make the trip to Charlotte Hornets in another big game in terms of the battle for the top six seeds in both conferences.

Charlotte probably need to win all their remaining regular season games if they are to avoid the play-in tournament in the East, while the Jazz have the same record as Dallas and a defeat would mean they could still be caught by Minnesota in the battle for the top six spots in the West.

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