Utah (19-17) at Dallas (25-11)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Dallas, TX, US
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Sat Jan 9, 2010
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Winning in Dallas is hard enough for the Utah Jazz. Doing so without Deron Williams(notes) might be near impossible.

The Jazz hope Williams won’t miss a third straight game Saturday night when they visit Dirk Nowitzki(notes) and the Mavericks, who look to win their sixth straight at home in the series.

Williams, who leads Utah with 19.5 points per game, sat out his second straight contest Friday with a sprained right wrist. The Jazz (19-17), who scored 117 points in a win over Memphis on Wednesday without their floor leader, struggled offensively against the Grizzlies on Friday, shooting 39.8 percent in a 91-89 loss.

Mehmet Okur(notes) scored 16 points and Carlos Boozer(notes) had 13 points and 12 rebounds, but O.J. Mayo(notes) hit a jumper with 5.2 seconds left after Utah overcame a dismal first quarter. Ronnie Price(notes) - Williams’ replacement - had 10 points and nine assists.

It was the third time in five games Utah was held under 90 points. The Jazz, who are averaging 99.5 points, were outscored 33-14 in the first quarter.

“We had a terrible first quarter,” coach Jerry Sloan said. “I give them credit because they made us turn the ball over. We had 12 turnovers at halftime, and in the second half, we had somewhat of a chance because we only had three.”

It’s uncertain whether Williams will be able to play Saturday. The star point guard had an MRI scan Tuesday after hitting the ground during a driving layup in Monday’s loss to New Orleans. The Jazz are 2-2 without him.

Williams’ injury could be a big blow to Utah’s hopes of snapping a five-game losing streak in Dallas. The Jazz, losers of 11 of 17 away games this season, have dropped 12 of 13 on the road against the Mavericks (25-11). Williams is averaging 23.1 points and 9.0 assists in the last seven road games against Dallas. He scored a team-high 22 in a 96-85 loss at American Airlines Center on Nov. 3.

As good as Williams has been in those matchups against the Mavericks, Nowitzki has been better. He scored 29 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter in the last win over the Jazz, and is averaging 35.5 points in his last four home games against them.

Nowitzki had another big fourth quarter in his last game. He scored 26 points in Dallas’ 112-103 win over San Antonio on Friday, including 16 in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left after the Spurs pulled within four, helping the Mavericks win for the fifth time in seven games.

“I was off all night long,” said Nowitzki, who made 10 of 28 field-goal attempts. “I just made some big shots in the fourth.”

Friday was the first time in five games Dallas scored 100 points and was the Mavericks’ highest-scoring game since a 117-101 victory at New Jersey on Dec. 2. Dallas’ bench played a big role Friday as its reserves outscored San Antonio’s 51-29.

“Our bench is key every night because we depend on those guys,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “We have a lot of confidence in them. When our first group struggles a little bit, they almost always pick us up.”

Dallas’ next three games are at home, where it is 12-5.

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Saturday, Jan 9