After getting victimized by one point guard, the Dallas Mavericks may face an even tougher challenge against another.
Dallas (30-17) allowed Portland’s Andre Miller(notes) to score 52 points in a 114-112 overtime loss Saturday. Miller used his strength to repeatedly post up the Mavericks’ Jason Kidd(notes) and Jose Juan Barea(notes).
“It was a phenomenal effort,” coach Rick Carlisle told the team’s official Web site. “We obviously didn’t do a good job on him.”
The Mavericks could also have a tough time defending Williams, who has averaged 21.3 points and 14.3 assists in the four-game home win streak over Dallas. He had 34 points and 12 assists in a 115-87 rout in the Mavericks’ last visit Feb. 9, 2009.
Williams, though, missed Friday’s 101-94 home victory over Sacramento after attending a relative’s funeral in West Virginia, and Utah is hoping he can return Monday.
Despite also playing without Carlos Boozer(notes), the Jazz (28-18) pushed their season-high win streak to five. The power forward sat out with a strained right calf suffered Wednesday during a 106-95 victory at Portland, and his status for Monday is uncertain.
Utah had no problems Friday without its two leading scorers thanks to Paul Millsap(notes). In his first start of the season, the forward tied his career high with 32 points and added 14 rebounds and seven assists.
“That’s the crazy thing about this league. You want to play more but you can’t,” Millsap said. “You’ve just got to get in when you get the opportunity or the chance and try to make it worthwhile.”
The All-Star forward scored 16 of his 28 points after the third quarter Saturday, but missed a tying jumper at the buzzer in overtime.
“It’s definitely a tough one to swallow,” Nowitzki said.
Dallas, though, was mostly undone by its inability to contain Miller. The Trail Blazers shot 53.5 percent - Miller was 22 of 31 - to become the third straight Mavs opponent to top 50.0.
“We got very soft defensively as a team,” Carlisle said. “We were a tough-minded team the first quarter of the year and it’s gone by the wayside.”
Dallas will be trying to avoid its first three-game slide of the season. Nowitzki, averaging 25.1 points in 2009-10, has been limited to 18.5 in his last four games at Utah.