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Jazz-Mavericks Preview

AP - Sports

The Dallas Mavericks seem happy they don't have to worry about any more ceremonies honoring their first NBA championship.

Another disheartening defeat followed a night when the Mavericks received their rings, and they'll try to regroup Friday night as they continue to play without Dirk Nowitzki when they host the Utah Jazz.

Dallas (11-8) raised its championship banner before falling behind by as many as 35 points in a season-opening loss to Miami. The Mavericks then received their rings before Wednesday's 105-90 defeat to Minnesota.

"I think we're all happy that we don't have anymore ceremonies for our championship," guard Jason Kidd told the Mavericks' official website. "We can just concentrate on basketball."

Dallas had its seven-game home win streak snapped as Jason Terry scored 17 points and Shawn Marion added 15.

"We still needed to win this game," Marion said. "That's what we're trying to do right now. We're trying to focus on what's at hand right now and the current season and focus on trying to take our baby steps to get to where we want to be. Tonight we just took a hop back."

Nowitzki has not played since a 94-91 victory at Utah (10-6) last Thursday. This was projected as a four-game stretch to work on his conditioning and allow his sore right knee to improve.

With Nowitzki aiming to possibly return Sunday against San Antonio, Vince Carter could be back after missing five games with a sprained left foot.

"Dirk's out, (but) they have very good players on that team," Utah coach Ty Corbin said. "They're the defending champions and they're going to be ready to play."

Marion is averaging 20.0 points on 55.0 percent shooting in his last four games, beginning with a 22-point effort against Utah.

The Mavs could use some better play from Lamar Odom, who is shooting a career-low 32.9 percent after last season's career-best 53.0 with the Lakers. Odom had five points on 2-of-14 shooting Wednesday.

The Jazz have dropped five straight to the Mavs after last week's defeat. Al Jefferson led Utah with 22 points to go with nine boards in that contest.

Jefferson, though, missed Wednesday's 111-106 double-overtime loss to Toronto because of an inflamed right ankle he re-injured in the team's morning shootaround. Second-year forward Derrick Favors started in Jefferson's place and had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

"I think starting, you gotta be ready off the jump," Favors said. "You don't have time to wait around and watch the game."

Jefferson didn't practice Thursday and is a game-time decision against Dallas.

The Jazz made 4 of 18 3-pointers against the Raptors as they continue to struggle with the NBA's fourth-worst mark at 28.1 percent. They are seeing more zone defense due to those woes, and Corbin expects more of the same from Dallas.

"They tried it here the first game we played them, we scored on it, they got out of it," Corbin said. "But they'll go to it, come back and go to it. We've just got to be prepared for it."

The Mavs, who have won 16 of their last 19 home matchups with the Jazz, are also faring poorly on 3s with the league's sixth-worst percentage at 30.2.

Utah's Josh Howard returned to action Wednesday after missing four games with a left quad strain and was held scoreless, missing all five shots. This will be Howard's first game as a visitor in Dallas, where he spent his first six full seasons with the Mavs and was an All-Star in 2007.

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