New York (13-20) at Dallas (21-13)

Cloudy Currently: Dallas, TX
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Thu Jan 8, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Dallas Mavericks haven’t played too well during a soft part of their schedule. A home matchup against the New York Knicks might help them get back on track.

The Mavs look for their ninth consecutive victory over the Knicks in Dallas on Thursday night when the teams conclude their season series.

Dallas (21-13) is playing the last of six straight games against teams with records under .500, and while the Mavs are 4-1 thus far in that stretch, the last four performances have been less than desirable.

They trailed by double digits in the second half of wins over Minnesota and Philadelphia last week before losing by 20 points Sunday at last-place Memphis, but they rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-102 at home on Tuesday after taking an 18-point lead in the first half.

Dirk Nowitzki’s blocked shot and go-ahead jumper in the final minute helped Dallas win for the 11th time in its last 13 home games.

“Terrible. We had a good lead and we let up,” said Nowitzki, who had 34 points. “They got whatever they wanted offensively. We couldn’t get any stops.”

New York (13-20) felt the same way in its first game against Dallas this season. The Knicks allowed the Mavs to go on a 19-2 run over the final 7:26 of their meeting at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 16 before losing 124-114 in overtime.

Nowitzki scored seven of his 39 points in the extra session and grabbed 15 rebounds, raising his career averages against the Knicks to 25.3 points and 9.0 boards.

On Tuesday, Dallas needed a game-ending 11-1 run and went ahead to stay on Nowitzki’s high-arching 11-footer with 37 seconds remaining.

“We’re going to have to be a lot better on Thursday because New York is an improving team and they put a lot of pressure on you with their transition game and the 3,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We’re going to have to be better on Thursday.”

New York opened a four-game road trip against Western Conference foes with a 107-99 loss to lowly Oklahoma City on Tuesday, two days after beating defending world champion Boston 100-88.

The Knicks, who lead the NBA with 29.3 attempts from 3-point range per game, took 34 shots from beyond the arc against the Thunder because they fell behind by 23 points in the second half.

New York hit 11 of those 3-point attempts and shot 39.8 from the field overall in falling to 5-12 away from home.

“We dug ourselves a hole and tried to climb our way out of it and just came up short,” said forward Al Harrington, who scored a team-high 21 points and went 4-for-6 from 3-point range. “No disrespect to those guys, but we were supposed to win this game.”

Harrington is averaging 23.5 points and shooting 51.9 percent (14-for-27) from beyond the arc over his past four games. Nate Robinson hasn’t had similar success for the Knicks over that span, making 9.5 percent of his 3-point attempts (2-for-21).

New York was trying to post consecutive victories for just the second time since mid-November.

“It’s a learning process, learning how to win two, four or 10 games in a row,” first-year coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s having that mentality that nothing else matters for the next two hours.”

The Knicks have lost 13 of 14 to the Mavs. They’ve dropped eight straight in Dallas since a 100-93 victory on Dec. 16, 1999.

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Thursday, Jan 8