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Mavericks-Warriors Preview

AP - Sports

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is trying some new combinations in the wake of the messy departure of Lamar Odom.

Carlisle's Mavericks begin a critical four-game road trip over a five-day span Thursday night when they meet the Golden State Warriors.

Dallas (32-26) won for the first time in eight tries without Odom with a 110-100 home victory over Sacramento on Tuesday. Odom and the Mavericks mutually agreed to part ways Monday, and one day later, owner Mark Cuban said the final straw was an exchange he had with the forward during Saturday's 94-89 loss at Memphis.

Without Odom, Dallas avoided a third straight loss with six players reaching double figures.

"We've got a lot of veterans in here and we've been through worse than that,'' Terry said when asked about Odom's departure. ''We wish him the best in his future endeavors, but that's now all in the past and we are focused on the job at hand, and that's making the playoffs.''

The Mavericks are in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with Denver and Houston. Those teams are 1 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Utah.

Carlisle led the team through an intense workout Wednesday in San Francisco after the Mavericks traveled west early to prepare for this trip. The coach gave 7-footer Yi Jianlian his first minutes in four games Tuesday and has indicated he will continue to mix and match who he puts on the floor.

"We have a lot of things to work on with our chemistry," Carlisle told the Mavericks' official website. "We're gonna have some different rotations with our second unit and there's gonna be fluidity with it. So, you know, we've gotta get together quickly really on both sides of the ball."

Another player Carlisle is counting on now is Brandan Wright, who is averaging 12.7 points on 60.7 percent shooting in his last three games. Wright will play at Golden State (22-35) for the first time since he spent his first two-plus years with the Warriors.

The 6-foot-10 forward missed Dallas' 111-87 loss at Golden State on March 10 due to a concussion. That matchup, however, won't be indicative of what to expect in this rematch.

Jason Kidd sat out that night with the Mavs playing for the third time in as many nights. Kidd returned Tuesday after missing four games with a groin strain and had seven points and seven assists.

Dallas won't have to worry about facing Monta Ellis this time. Ellis, who had 20 points in last month's meeting, was dealt to Milwaukee on March 14.

Stephen Curry, meanwhile, started for the Warriors as Ellis' backcourt mate. The third-year guard has been out since March 11 due to his troublesome right ankle.

Golden State has dropped nine of 11 and will have to regroup quickly after Wednesday's 118-110 loss at Portland. David Lee had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Golden State, which lost 123-84 to Denver on Monday.

"That may be an excuse for other teams, but for us that's unacceptable,'' said coach Mark Jackson about his absences. "The last two games we haven't been ourselves."

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