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DALLAS -- When the Mavericks extended their winning streak to three in Memphis Wednesday night, head coach Rick Carlisle made it clear what his goals are.

'We're looking to move up in the standings,' Carlisle said. 'We're not just looking to hang on to the eight spot. Who wants to be in the eighth spot?'

Being in that eighth spot - where the Mavericks are right now - is a dead end. Since the NBA when to a seven-game series in the first round, only one eighth seed has ever toppled a top seed.

That series is easy to remember; it was 2007, when Dallas got knocked off by Golden State.

'Anytime you can move up, you want to move up if you're in a position to do it,' said Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.

Dallas is certainly in position to move up. They're only a half-game behind Golden State and Phoenix to move into the sixth slot, and trail fifth-place Houston by only four.

'I think it's important to look up and not look down and just keep gunning for people that are ahead of us and have that mind set, instead of looking the other way and trying to hold on,' Carlisle said. 'That's not the way to go.'

'With a couple of [lost] games we can get out of the playoffs, and with a couple of wins, we can be in seven[th], eight[h], six[th], so it's going to be tight all the way until the end of the season,' Nowitzki said.

Before Wednesday, Dallas had not won a regular season game in Memphis since November 2010, and that has the Mavericks are looking up.

'Maybe it was the kind of game we were looking for just to try to believe even more in ourselves and just trying to look forward,' Mavericks guard Jose Calderon said. 'We're not comfortable just being the eighth, if we can go higher, why not.'

With 32 games left in the season, there is certainly plenty of time to do that.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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