Utah (24-51) at Dallas (51-24)

Cloudy Currently: Dallas, TX
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EDT Sat Apr 9, 2005
  • TV: KJZZ, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Dirk Nowitzki and the playoff-bound Dallas Mavericks will shoot for their first-ever season sweep of the Utah Jazz when the teams meet at the American Airlines Center.

Dallas had lost 12 straight meetings with Utah before winning 12 of the last 19, including the first two this season. The Mavericks have outrebounded the Jazz by a combined 21 boards, and limited them to just 84.5 points per game.

Nowitzki is averaging 30 points against the Jazz, making 23 of 24 free throws in the two matchups.

The Mavs, not known for their defense, have held the Jazz below 100 points in 10 of the last 12 matchups.

Dallas, bolstered by new coach Avery Johnson’s defense-first attitude, tied the franchise record for fewest points allowed in Thursday’s 104-68 home win over the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs.

The Mavs shot 53 percent against the NBA’s top defensive team, and moved within four games of the Spurs in the division with their 10th victory in 12 games.

It was also their sixth straight home win.

Dallas improved to 9-2 since Johnson replaced Don Nelson as coach. The Mavs have a 5-0 home record over that span.

Reserve Keith Van Horn led Dallas with 17 points, and Nowitzki, who was a game-time decision because of a sore right ankle, added 16 and eight rebounds in 27 minutes.

“This was a terrific effort by the guys tonight,” Johnson said. “A lot of positives happened, especially on the defensive end.”

Utah, which owns the second-worst record in the West, comes in off a 98-87 win at conference-worst New Orleans on Friday.

Even with the victory, the Jazz will miss the playoffs for the second straight season after 20 straight appearances.

Matt Harpring led Utah with a season high-tying 28 points, shooting 10-for-16. The seventh-year player out of Georgia Tech is averaging 20 points in his last three games. His season average is 13.7.

The Jazz continue to play without leading scorer Carlos Boozer, who was lost for the season after spraining his foot at Phoenix on Feb. 14.

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