Nets-Mavericks Preview


Still looking to improve their playoff seeding, the Brooklyn Nets hope their recent road success will stay with them as they continue their lengthy trip.

The Dallas Mavericks are simply trying to keep their streak of consecutive postseason appearances alive, but time is running out.

After opening a season-high eight-game road trip with a win, the Nets try to avenge a home loss to the Mavericks from earlier this month Wednesday night.

Brooklyn's 17-day trip started well with an easy 119-82 victory over Detroit on Monday. The Nets (39-28) are one game back of New York for first place in the Atlantic Division and the third spot in the Eastern Conference, a position they could improve upon during the trip considering their road play.

They've won six of eight road contests while holding opponents to 89.6 points per game over that stretch.

"It is hard to be critical of anything," coach P.J. Carlesimo said after his team led the Pistons by as many as 43. "I thought we were very focused and we played very well."

Deron Williams also continued his recent surge with 31 points and five assists in 28 minutes. Williams, averaging 18.2 points and 42.9 percent shooting on the season, is at 26.0 points on 50.5 percent over his last six games. He's also knocking down 44.0 percent of his 3-pointers (22 of 50) over the same stretch.

"He's the brain of our offense, so it is always good when he gets it going," Reggie Evans said. "It doesn't matter if he's shooting it or passing it. He's feeling really good right now."

The Nets will likely need Williams to be better than he was in the season's first meeting with the Mavericks, a 98-90 loss on March 1. He scored 24 but was 8 of 18 from the field and matched a season high with seven turnovers as Brooklyn lost for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.

The victory over the Nets started a 7-3 stretch for Dallas (32-35), which still has plenty of work to do if it wants to extend its playoff streak to 13 consecutive seasons. The Mavericks are three games back of the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers and two behind ninth-place Utah.

"We've been bouncing back all year," coach Rick Carlisle said after his team recorded its highest point total of the season in Monday's 127-113 win at Atlanta. "We've had a lot of opportunities to do that, unfortunately. We've got 15 (games) left and we're going to throw the kitchen sink at all 15."

Dirk Nowitzki continues to look more like his usual self, averaging 18.5 points on 50.9 percent shooting - including a 13-of-26 mark from 3-point range - over his last eight games. Nowitzki staying in a rhythm is especially crucial with Shawn Marion (11.7 ppg) still sidelined with a strained left calf. Marion has missed seven games in a row.

Vince Carter and Nowitzki each scored 20 points at Brooklyn earlier this month.

Brook Lopez, who had 19 points for the Nets, is averaging 26.3 points on 61.4 percent shooting in four games against Dallas since 2010-11 - his third-highest scoring title against any opponent.