With star Dirk Nowitzki feeling better, the NBA’s top team can match its season high for consecutive wins, which the Mavs set from Nov. 9-Dec. 1 after starting the season 0-4.
After sitting out Sunday’s 89-85 win at Denver with a high fever from a sinus infection, Nowitzki scored 31 points and had 15 rebounds as the Mavs (25-7) beat Seattle 112-88 at home on Tuesday. Dallas has won eight straight at home, improving to 15-3 there.
“(Monday), I was able to sleep it off and I got some home cooking,” Nowitzki said.
Nowitzki, who tops the team with 23.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, has also been hampered recently by a sprained ankle. He led the team in scoring for the first time in his last seven games Tuesday.
“Dirk is a warrior,” Dallas coach Avery Johnson said. “He plays injured and came back strong tonight.”
Even with Nowitzki at less than 100 percent, the Mavs haven’t slipped.
Josh Howard, who was named the Western Conference player of the week on Tuesday, is averaging 22.0 points during the winning streak. He had 21 points and nine rebounds against Seattle as Dallas grabbed a season-high 58 boards.
“Guys just came out and hit the glass hard on both ends of the court,” Howard said.
Jason Terry, who averages 16.4 points a game, is averaging 19.3 during the win streak.
The Mavs have also played solid defense their current run, allowing 87.6 points while holding their last 10 opponents to less than 100.
Indiana (17-15) failed to win a season-high third straight game on Saturday, falling 113-102 at home to lowly Charlotte. The Pacers, who have won six of their last nine, gave up more than 100 points for the first time in six games and allowed an opponent to shoot 50 percent from the field for the first time in nine contests.
Jermaine O’Neal had 27 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana, which led by three early in the fourth quarter but gave up 34 points in the final period.
“We didn’t establish ourselves with force defensively,” said Indiana coach Rick Carlisle, who was ejected early in the third quarter after receiving his second technical foul of the game. “It’s disappointing, but I’m not ready to give up on these guys.”
The Pacers have won three straight on the road after dropping 10 of their previous 13 contests away from home. Indiana, though, has lost six of its last seven visits to Dallas.
The Mavs took both meetings from the Pacers last season for the first time since 2001-02.