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Bobcats-Mavericks Preview

AP - Sports

A couple of days without a game helped the Dallas Mavericks end their latest skid. A visit from another of the NBA's weaker teams could help the defending champions begin a run in the positive direction.

Trying to win two in a row for the first time in almost a month, the Mavericks look to remain perfect in their all-time series with the Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday night.

Dallas (24-20) snapped a three-game slide with a 107-98 victory over lowly Washington on Tuesday. Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and Jason Terry added 24 as the Mavericks shot 50.6 percent and looked refreshed following two days off after losing seven of nine during a 12-day stretch.

The Mavericks last won consecutive contests Feb. 15-17 to conclude a season-high six-game winning streak.

"Losing is no fun. Everybody's on edge, frustration comes out," Nowitzki said. "But we're a veteran team. All we can do is stick together."

The NBA's oldest team with all its starters and two main reserves having played at least 10 years, Dallas got a little healthier with the returns of Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright on Tuesday. Even better news for the Mavericks is that they will not have to play back-to-back games until March 23-24.

"Nine games in 12 nights, this team was not designed for that," owner Mark Cuban said. "Especially, when you have injuries.

"Now's our chance to prove ourselves. It's just been a different year, and we've got the fewest games left. Now hopefully that will play in our favor. Hopefully we'll run into some tired teams like they've run into us."

Even if they were fatigued in the past, the Mavericks have had little trouble while going 14-0 against Charlotte since the Bobcats debuted in the 2004-05 season. Dallas has averaged 100.4 points while winning all seven matchups at home.

Nowitzki has averaged 26.1 points on 48.5 percent shooting in his career against the Bobcats (6-35). Terry has gone 25 of 46 from the field while averaging 21.0 points in his last three games versus Charlotte.

The Bobcats fell to 1-2 on a four-game trip with a 107-87 loss to Houston on Wednesday. Light-scoring reserve Derrick Brown had a team-high 15 points as the Bobcats shot 40.7 percent.

Two nights after holding New Orleans to 38.5 percent shooting during a 73-71 win, Charlotte allowed the Rockets to make 53.6 percent of their shots.

"I just don't want us to give up," coach Paul Silas said. "We really have to work hard and keep playing. I didn't think we played that hard. We just didn't have it. We just didn't play tough enough."

Leading scorer Corey Maggette (15.3 points per game), limited to nine minutes Monday because of back spasms, was held to 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting against the Rockets. He has gone 3 of 12 from the field and totaled 11 points in his last two games versus Dallas.

The Mavericks have averaged 101.1 points during a three-game home winning streak.

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