In their last game, the Dallas Mavericks faded late against a team that was playing extremely short-handed.
That doesn’t bode well for their next contest against the well-rested Houston Rockets.
The Mavericks look to avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this season Wednesday when they visit the Rockets, who haven’t played since Saturday.
Dallas (10-4) saw its five-game winning streak snapped in a 111-103 loss to Golden State on Tuesday. The Warriors used only six players due to injuries, but it was the Mavericks - who hadn’t played since Friday - who were the ones who struggled to close the game out. They led 98-89 but got outscored 22-5 the rest of the way.
The Mavericks were missing three starters themselves - forwards Shawn Marion(notes) (left ankle sprain) and Josh Howard(notes) (left ankle surgery) and center Erick Dampier(notes) (illness). Quinton Ross(notes) started for Dallas but sat out the second half with a tight lower back.
“We’re down three starters, but everybody has to deal with injuries,” said Dirk Nowitzki(notes), who had a team-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. “They kept pushing and we didn’t have enough left down the stretch.”
The 111 points were the most allowed by Dallas this season in a game that didn’t go to overtime.
Nowitzki is averaging 30.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in his last four games. He had 23 points and six boards Nov. 10, when the Mavericks rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Rockets 121-103 in Dallas. Erick Dampier had 20 rebounds to help the Mavericks beat Houston for the 13th time in the last 17 meetings between the intrastate rivals.
While the Mavericks try to avoid their first consecutive losses, Houston (8-6) is looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game winning streak Oct. 28-Nov. 2. The Rockets have alternated losses with wins for 10 consecutive games since then.
“These are the types of games we need to win if we’re going to build on what we’ve done,” coach Rick Adelman told the team’s official Web site. “We haven’t been able to do that.”
The Rockets will be taking the court for the first time since a 113-106 home win over Sacramento on Saturday.
Luis Scola(notes) finished with 22 points while Kyle Lowry(notes) added 20 to help Houston once again avoid its first back-to-back losses of the season. The Rockets won despite shooting 3 of 18 from 3-point range and allowing the Kings to shoot 50.6 percent overall.
Scola is averaging 17.0 points in his last seven games. He had 12 against the Mavericks earlier this month.
Rockets star Tracy McGrady(notes) returned to practice Monday for the first time since undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee in February, but there is no known timetable for his return to game action.
Tuesday’s game began a stretch of four games in five nights for Dallas, which will travel to Indiana and Cleveland this weekend.