The Mavericks look to avoid a second straight embarrassing loss as they face the Clippers on Tuesday night.
Dallas (20-13) has won five straight at home against Los Angeles (8-25) since an 85-71 loss on April 19, 2006, holding the Clippers to 89.2 points per game during that stretch.
With injury-riddled Los Angeles having lost seven straight, Dallas appears to have an excellent chance to pick up another win. The Mavs, though, shouldn’t be taking any team lightly.
Dallas lost 102-82 to last-place Memphis on Sunday, snapping a 13-game winning streak over the Grizzlies. That run was tied for the third-longest in team history against a single opponent.
After outscoring opponents by an average of 18 points in the second half of its last three games - including erasing a 29-point deficit to defeat Minnesota 107-100 last Tuesday - Dallas couldn’t mount a comeback against Memphis.
“We’ve been down 10, 12, 16. We were even down (29) against Minnesota,” Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki said. “We’re just not playing well early now. We’ve always got to fight back, and we did that over the last couple of weeks. At some point, all the fighting back is going to haunt you. You waste a lot of energy trying to fight back.”
Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 28 points, hitting 11 of 21 shots. He’s averaging 31.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games versus the Clippers this season.
Nowitzki missed the last game between the teams, a 98-76 Mavericks win on Dec. 28, after being suspended one game for a flagrant foul in a contest against Utah. Dallas leads the season series with Los Angeles 2-1, winning the last two.
The Clippers were without Zach Randolph (knee), Chris Kaman (foot) and Ricky Davis (knee) in last week’s meeting with the Mavs. All three, along with point guard Baron Davis, missed Sunday’s 88-87 loss to Detroit, and none of the four are expected to play in this game.
Rookie Eric Gordon scored a season-high 31 points Sunday, but the seventh overall pick missed a 15-footer as time expired.
“Things like that happen, and a loss is a loss so we can’t carry that through to the next game,” Clippers forward Al Thornton said. “A win would help rebuild our team chemistry and develop a more winning mentality.”
Against the Pistons, Los Angeles used its 13th different starting lineup as guard Fred Jones started for the first time in five games since signing as a free agent on Dec. 28. Last season, coach Mike Dunleavy used a league-high 39 starting lineups.
Jones was waived Monday along with forward Paul Davis, though the Clippers did acquire 7-foot-1 center Cheikh Samb from Denver for a conditional second-round draft pick.
Los Angeles is averaging 86.1 points and shooting 37.7 percent during its skid.
The Clippers have shot under 50 percent from the field in each of their first 33 games. Last season, they didn’t shoot 50 percent or better until their 33rd game, when they became the last team in the league to do it.