Mavericks-Warriors Preview

The Associated Press

Golden State coach Mark Jackson believes Stephen Curry is playing his best basketball, though that effort might go for naught unless the Warriors can return to form defensively.

Golden State takes on two of the highest-scoring teams in the league to open a home-heavy stretch, the first coming against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

Having moved past an early season ankle injury and a concussion that caused him to miss two games last month, Curry is in the midst of a torrid stretch for Golden State (12-10).

Two days after matching a career high with 15 assists in a 108-82 victory at Memphis, Curry finished with a season-high 43 points, five 3-pointers and nine assists in a 115-111 loss at Charlotte on Monday.

The fifth-year guard has averaged 30.1 points while hitting 26 3s in his last seven games. On the season, he's averaging career highs of 23.6 points and 8.9 assists.

''He's been playing at a whole different level,'' Jackson said. ''He's playing and acting like he's the best player on the floor night in and night out, carrying us down the stretch, making plays, choosing when to take over offensively and he knows when to facilitate.''

In Golden State's first meeting of the season with the Mavericks (13-9), Curry had a game-high 29 points and went 6 of 10 from 3-point range in a 103-99 loss in Dallas on Nov. 27.

After going 4-4 in a stretch in which seven of eight were on the road, the Warriors will play seven of their next nine in Oakland. Curry seeks his fourth straight double-double at home, where Golden State has won six of eight.

The Warriors, though, have dropped seven of 11 overall, with those woes due in large part to struggles on the defensive end. Since allowing opponents to reach 100 points three times during its 8-3 start, Golden State has let teams score at least that many nine times in the past 11 games.

It will face yet another challenge in Dallas, which ranks in the top 10 in the league with 103.4 points per game and a 46.0 shooting percentage. The Warriors host Houston, the highest-scoring team in the NBA at 107.5 points a contest, on Friday.

The Mavericks had a three-game winning streak snapped in Monday's 112-97 loss at Sacramento, which was short-handed because of a multiplayer trade earlier in the day.

Monta Ellis finished with 21 points on 9 of 18 from the field and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points and seven assists, but Dallas shot 38.9 percent - including 5 for 27 from beyond the arc.

Ellis, averaging a team-best 21.5 points, was coming off his buzzer-beater in Saturday's 108-106 victory at Western Conference-leading Portland. The veteran guard, who played for Golden State from 2005-12, scored 26 to help Mliwaukee to a 103-93 victory in his last game at Oakland on March 9. However, he had a season-low four points on 2-of-16 shooting Nov. 27.

After dropping six of their first eight road games, the Mavericks look to wrap up this four-game trip with three wins.

"We were doing great on the road," guard Jose Calderon told the team's official website. "It was two (wins) in a row, so we wanted to go four out of four. ... We've got to try to put that one out (of our minds) and just try to forget about it."

The Warriors have taken the last two overall meetings and three of four in Oakland.

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