The Mavericks (42-9), holders of the best record in the NBA, won their seventh game in a row Sunday, 106-89 at Philadelphia after withstanding a rally that sliced their 30-point lead to eight in the fourth quarter.
“When they stormed back on us at the end, we were fortunate,” Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. “That’s what really good teams do. When teams make runs, you have to try and shoot them down and try and go on the offensive.”
Dallas has done just that throughout the season and have won 28 of their last 30 games, with both losses coming on the road.
The team is in the middle of a three-game road trip - the finale is Thursday in Houston - that takes it into the All-Star break. The Mavs do not return home until a Feb. 22 meeting with Miami in an NBA Finals rematch.
“It was big to get off this first one with a win,” said Mavericks guard Jason Terry, who had 16 points and 11 assists Sunday. “It was very important that we get off to a good start and play well. The first game sets the tempo. Now we can get to Milwaukee and really zone in on what we have to get done.”
The Mavericks’ 18-6 road mark is second-best in the league to Phoenix’s 19-6 record.
Dirk Nowitzki, who led Dallas with 24 points and 11 rebounds Sunday, is averaging 31.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the last eight road contests. The power forward leads Dallas with 25.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
Nowitzki looks to continue his stellar play on the road in Dallas’ first of two season meetings with Milwaukee. He had 35 points against the Bucks in the last matchup - a 114-95 Dallas win on Jan. 16, 2006.
The Mavs, though, have struggled at the Bradley Center, winning only twice in 17 visits since it opened in the 1988-89 season.
The Bucks (19-32) hope to continue the trend and avoid their seventh loss in eight games.
They lost 109-102 to Denver on Saturday despite Earl Boykins scoring 26 points and shooting 6-for-7 from 3-point range against his former club.
Boykins is playing through a right thumb injury that has forced him to wear a splint over his shooting hand.
The Bucks hope he is able to withstand the injury as they wait for Michael Redd to get healthy.
Redd, who has missed 18 consecutive games with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee, is still uncertain of his return date. The team is 3-15 without its leading scorer (27.7 points per game).
Without Redd, Milwaukee is averaging 93.2 points and being outscored by 10.9 per game. Prior to the injury, the team was 16-18 and scoring 102.8 points per contest.
Mo Williams is trying to pick up the slack since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for nine games. The point guard is averaging 22.4 points and 6.0 assists in eight games since coming back.