The Dallas Mavericks already have lost more home games than they did all last season.
They can take a step toward regaining their dominance at American Airlines Center on Tuesday night as they begin a five-game homestand against the Boston Celtics.
Dallas set a franchise-record for home wins last season, when it went 36-5. But the Mavericks suffered their sixth home loss, 111-107 to Golden State on Dec. 14. Dallas beat Atlanta at home four days later and followed with a 2-1 road trip.
Michael Finley and Dirk Nowitzki helped make it a winning road trip by heating up in the second half of Sunday’s 102-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Finley hit three straight baskets during a key third-quarter run and Nowitzki scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half as Dallas overcame a 12-point deficit.
Nowitzki made 10 of his final 15 shots at Denver after going 26-for-67 the previous five games.
“All December long I have been in a little slump and it was really good to go out there and make a couple of shots,” said Nowitzki, who played 44 minutes. “I made a few in the first half, and in the start of the third I had a couple of good looks that didn’t go. It felt really good in the fourth, and I just kept making them.”
Finley had 20 points and eight rebounds at Denver. He and Nowitzki took more than half (46) of Dallas’ 86 shots as third-leading scoring Jerry Stackhouse missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right hand. Stackhouse, who is averaging 14.4 points per game, is listed as questionable for Tuesday.
Boston has lost eight of its last nine visits to Dallas and began a three-game road trip with a 107-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. Reserve Ricky Davis scored 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Paul Pierce added 16 for Boston, which fell to 4-9 when scoring less than 100 points.
“Our pick-and-roll defense is atrocious,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “We worked on it this morning (during shootaround), and it was almost like we didn’t. Our defense is what has been letting us down.”