A pair of playoff-hopeful teams that have been skidding recently will meet at American Airlines Center on Wednesday when the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks host in-state rival Houston.

The Mavs have lost two straight games and are currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference while the Rockets have dropped four consecutive and are deadlocked with Phoenix for the eighth and final spot, 1 1/2 games behind Dallas.

The Mavericks are coming off a tough triple-overtime loss in Salt Lake City on Monday when Al Jefferson scored 28 points and tied a career-high with 26 rebounds, several in key moments, as the Utah Jazz came out on top of a thriller, 123-121.

Utah is also in the jumbled West playoff picture, moving two games behind Dallas with the win and a half-game behind Phoenix and Houston for the eighth spot.

Dirk Nowitzki poured in 40 points against the Jazz, Jason Terry supplied 27 off the bench and Vince Carter had 18 points to go with 12 boards for the Mavericks, who will host Golden State on Friday before finishing the season with consecutive road games in Chicago and Atlanta.

"You've got to give them credit, they hung in there. I thought Jefferson was phenomenal all night, making big shots everywhere," said Nowitzki.

The Rockets, meanwhile, are coming off a home-and-home sweep at the hands of Denver and also lost to playoff contenders Utah and Phoenix in their ill-timed late season swoon.

Most recently Houston fell to the Nuggets in Space City on Monday, 105-102.

Chandler Parsons and Goran Dragic each netted 21 points to pace the Rockets, while Luis Scola finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.

They got a few runs on us and they made some shots," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said about Denver.

Veteran center Marcus Camby, who sat out the last game against Denver with a sore back, remains questionable for tonight.

The Mavs have won six straight over Houston, including a pair of meetings this season. The Rockets have dropped three in a row and 10 of 13 in Big D.