Two disappointing losses have made a recent 12-game win streak seem like a distant memory for the Dallas Mavericks.
Dallas looks to continue its dominance of the Denver Nuggets on Saturday when the teams meet at the American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks (13-6) won 12 straight from Nov. 9-Dec. 1, falling two shy of the team record. That streak came to an end Monday with a 107-96 loss at Washington, a game which Dallas trailed by 20 in the first half and 31 in the third quarter.
A 92-75 victory at New Jersey the next night appeared to signal the Mavericks were back on track, but they fell behind by 18 and never recovered in a 92-82 home loss to Detroit on Thursday.
The defeat ended Dallas’ streak of 22 consecutive home wins over Eastern Conference opponents, dating to a Feb. 8, 2005 loss to Chicago.
“Everything we threw at them, they were able to counter and still score baskets,” said forward Josh Howard, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half. “We had a meltdown in D.C. and we did it again tonight.”
Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points, Jason Terry had 17 and Erick Dampier added 12 for Dallas, but no one else contributed much. Devin Harris had one point while going 0-for-6 from the field in 28 minutes, and Jerry Stackhouse failed to score in 18 minutes while trying to play through a groin injury.
Stackhouse, third on the team with 12.5 points per game, is not expected to play Saturday.
The Mavericks also lost the rebounding battle 43-36, the third straight game they were beaten on the boards.
“We had no energy tonight,” Mavs coach Avery Johnson said. “Our body language was not good.”
A home matchup with the Nuggets (11-6) could be coming at the perfect time for the Mavericks, who have won 16 of the last 17 meetings between the clubs in Dallas.
Denver has been hot lately, though, winning eight of its last 10 games.
“Junior stole the show,” Anthony said. “Any time a guy gets it going like that, we’re going to ride that train.”
Denver had little trouble with the defending champions despite missing forwards Joe Smith (ankle) and Reggie Evans (strep throat) and losing starting center Marcus Camby to an ejection in the first quarter.
Smith will not play Saturday, but Nuggets coach George Karl said Evans could.
Anthony, the NBA’s leading scorer, reached the 30-point mark for the seventh time in eight games. He had scored 30 or more in six consecutive contests before he was held to 24—his lowest total since the season opener—in Wednesday’s 98-96 loss to Atlanta.
Anthony (31.7 points per game) and Smith (16.6), who tied a franchise record with seven first-half 3-pointers, are the top-scoring duo in the NBA with a combined average of 48.3 points.