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Mavericks-Celtics Preview

AP - Sports

Dirk Nowitzki rid himself of his shooting slump in the Dallas Mavericks' most recent victory.

Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics hope they can do the same.

Dallas seeks its fourth victory in five meetings with Boston when the teams meet Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Nowitzki, who scored a combined 16 points while shooting 22.7 percent in a loss to San Antonio on Thursday and a victory over New Orleans on Saturday, bounced back by going 9 for 10 from the field for a team-high 18 points in Tuesday's 100-86 win at Detroit.

Defending NBA champion Dallas (5-5) has won four of its last five to reverse its 1-4 start to the season.

Shawn Marion scored 14 points and Vince Carter added 11 on Tuesday for the Mavericks, who played without Jason Kidd as he nurses a lower-back injury.

"We've had some rough ones, but (Tuesday) was a good one all around,'' Marion said. "Everybody was contributing, helping each other.''

Dallas also won for the first time on the road after having lost its previous three away from home, including the last two by a combined 39 points.

"It's a road win that we haven't had yet, so that's really important to us,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "Momentum has been elusive for us, so we respect how tough it is competitively in this league right now, but our goal is to build on this.''

Kidd will miss his third straight game Wednesday, though he could return Friday against Milwaukee.

Dallas has fared well without its starting point guard, however, and it has a solid chance to keep rolling if Nowitzki can repeat his recent performances against Boston.

The reigning NBA finals MVP has averaged 31.2 points while shooting 56.6 percent in his last five games against the Celtics, including a 29-point performance in a 101-97 victory in the most recent meeting Feb. 4 in Boston.

Pierce scored only 12 points in that contest while going 1 for 6 from 3-point range, and he's hoping to rebound from another tough outing.

Pierce finished with 10 points while shooting 3 of 17 in Friday's 87-74 loss to Indiana that snapped Boston's four-game winning streak. The Celtics shot 39.4 percent as a team.

"Both teams set offense back about 50 years (Friday). It was awful to watch,'' coach Doc Rivers said. "I just thought offensively we were horrible."

The Celtics (4-4) lost for the first time this season with Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen all healthy.

Pierce missed the season's first three games with a bruised right heel.

Allen, who returned to the lineup after missing one game with an illness, had 23 points but couldn't compensate for Pierce's struggles.

"He was human,'' Rivers said of Pierce. "I thought he tried to do too much off the bounce, especially early. And then I thought he got frustrated.''

Boston has had four days off to recover, while the Mavericks haven't had more than two straight off days all season and are playing in their fifth set of back-to-back games.

Dallas has won two straight visits to Boston and five of the last seven meetings there. Nowitzki is averaging 27.8 points in 12 career games at TD Garden.

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