After suffering another road loss, the Dallas Mavericks are probably glad to be playing in their own building for the next few days.
The Mavericks open a three-game stretch at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night against a Milwaukee Bucks team that has lost five straight in Dallas.
Dallas (33-23) was among the league’s best home teams last season, posting a 34-7 record en route to clinching its eighth straight playoff berth.
The Mavericks are again finding success in Dallas, where they are 19-4 since a four-game losing streak at the start of the season. That strong play has helped keep them in the postseason mix, as they’re eighth in the Western Conference.
But Dallas has found difficulty winning on the road, where it is 4-9 since the start of the current calendar year. The Mavericks dropped their third straight away from home Tuesday night, 93-76 to San Antonio.
In its worst offensive performance of the season, Dallas was held below 80 points for the first time while shooting a dismal 34.2 percent from the field. Coach Rick Carlisle called the contest a “(butt) kicking,” saying his club threw about “six tough minutes at (the Spurs) in the second quarter.”
Nowitzki has managed a total of 35 points in his last three contests, but can’t afford many more poor scoring performances with second-leading scorer and top reserve Jason Terry sidelined with a fractured finger in his non-shooting hand.
Dallas hopes Terry’s absence doesn’t keep it from extending its recent success against Milwaukee (28-31).
The Mavericks have won seven of the teams’ last 11 overall meetings, including seven of eight at home in that span - suffering their lone loss on Dec. 30, 2002. Since that defeat, they have outscored the Bucks by an average of 12.0 points while winning five straight in Dallas.
But they had another bad offensive night in their lone meeting this season, shooting 36.6 percent in a 133-99 defeat at Milwaukee on Jan. 21. The Bucks, meanwhile, shot a season-high 57.8 percent.
Milwaukee is averaging 110.8 points in winning four of its last six, including Sunday’s 120-117 victory against Denver.
Charlie Villanueva scored a season-high 36 points - and matched a career best with seven 3-pointers - while Ramon Sessions added 27 for the Bucks, who salvaged the final contest on their three-game homestand.
“Charlie and Ramon kind of carried the offensive load for us,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “We had other guys chipping in with some points, but for the most part those two guys made the big offensive plays when we had to have them.”
Skiles has gotten plenty of encouraging performances lately from the pair. Sessions has averaged 19.5 points while starting the last 12 games and Villanueva has put up 22.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest in starting the last 18.
Villanueva has seven of his 12 double-doubles in that stretch, one of which came in that January matchup with Dallas. He had 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Richard Jefferson was held to 15 points against the Mavericks last month, but has since averaged 20.4 in his next 14 contests overall.