The American Airlines Center has been a pleasant place for the Dallas Mavericks to play this season. Opponents may feel otherwise.
The NBA’s top team will look to extend its club-record home winning streak to 20 games when they play host to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
The Mavericks (46-9) are 26-3 at home this season and come into this game having won 12 of their last 15 from the Hawks, including seven of eight at home.
Dallas won its 11th straight overall with a 115-95 rout of Denver on Saturday. The Mavericks are the fourth team in NBA history with three 10-game winning streaks in one season joining Milwaukee in 1970-71, Philadelphia in 1980-81 and the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999-2000.
The Mavs reeled off 12 straight wins after starting the season 0-4, and they also won 13 in a row from Dec. 13-Jan. 5.
Dirk Nowitzki fell short of his first career triple-double Saturday with 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but settled for his 34th double-double this season.
“I told him I guarantee he will have one of those triple-doubles before we finish here,” Dallas’ Jason Terry said.
Nowitzki is averaging 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 2006-07. In his last five games, though, the All-Star is averaging 30.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists. He tallied at least 20 points in five of his last six games against the Hawks.
Josh Howard, Dallas’ other All-Star, scored 27 points in 39 minutes against Denver despite playing with a sore right ankle as the Mavericks shot better than 50 percent from the field for the second straight game.
“I think the times we stopped them and then came down and got baskets on our offensive end really helped us and propelled us to victory,” Terry said.
The Mavericks, who last lost at home 92-82 to Detroit on Dec. 7, is winning by an average of 12.4 points there this season.
Atlanta (22-34) will play its fourth straight game against a Western Conference power on Monday and has dropped three of four including defeats against San Antonio and Houston since the All-Star break.
The Hawks trailed 38-24 after one quarter, but rallied and took the lead briefly in the fourth before the Suns took over thanks in large part to a season-high 43 points from Amare Stoudemire.
“We ran out of gas,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Williams have each played well recently. Johnson, who averages 25.1 points, has scored 28 or more in each of his last three games. Williams, who averages 12.5 points, has scored 43 points on 16-for-26 shooting in his last two games.
Anthony Johnson, a guard traded back to Atlanta by Dallas on Thursday, scored 17 points and had five assists in his first game with the Hawks. He averaged 3.8 points in 40 games with Dallas this season.
Despite its record, the Hawks are four wins shy of matching their total from last season. They’ve also improved on the road, posting a 12-17 record, matching the combined number of road wins from the past two seasons combined.
Atlanta has won six of its last eight away from home.