Since losing three in a row earlier this month, the Dallas Mavericks have alternated wins and losses over the last five games.
The Mavericks will try to stop the trend when they wrap up a three-game homestand Saturday versus Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dallas recorded a 114-111 victory over the tough New York Knicks on Wednesday, as Vince Carter scored 14 of his season-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and the Mavericks held on despite giving Knicks star Carmelo Anthony a wide- open shot for the go-ahead basket. Anthony missed about a 15-foot jumper.
"Tonight my shot felt good and my body felt better," said Carter, who buried 5-of-10 shots from 3-point range. "I'm a little banged up, but at the same time I felt a little better and just let my shot fly."
Darren Collison added 19 points and seven assists in the win, as Dallas scored 65 points in the second half and improved to 5-2 as the host this season. The Mavericks are still without star Dirk Nowitzki, who is recovering from a knee procedure. Forward Troy Murphy made his first start for the Mavericks, but left in the second half due to a upper respiratory illness and is questionable for Saturday.
The Mavericks are one of the highest scoring teams in the league with 101.8 ppg and will begin a quick road trip Tuesday against Philadelphia before playing in Chicago the next night.
O.J. Mayo extended his streak to 11 straight games with 18-plus points, averaging 24.0 ppg in that stretch.
Los Angeles fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 106-98, on Friday night in Memphis. Kobe Bryant led the way for the Lakers with 30 points, and Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison contributed 16 points apiece.
"They are in the phase of trying to figure things out," said new head coach Mike D'Antoni. "We don't have a nice rhythm. Especially at the beginning of the game we did not. We have just got to do a better job."
Pau Gasol certainly needs to lift his game. He managed six points on Friday and the Lakers are 0-5 this season when the Spanish big man fails to score 10 points.
The Lakers have lost two in a row, both on the road, and D'Antoni is now 1-2 at the helm. Brought in for his offensive prowess, D'Antoni's Lakers haven't reached 100 points in his three games and have surrendered an average of 103.0 ppg under their new coach.
After their stop in Dallas, the Lakers head back to the Staples Center for a three-game homestand.
The Lakers dropped a 99-91 decision to the Mavericks back on Oct. 30, as Collison tallied 17 points and Mayo finished with 12. L.A. won all four meetings with the Mavericks last season and had a six-game winning streak in this series come to an end last month. The Lakers are still 14-4 in the last 18 matchups.
Los Angeles has recorded three straight victories in Big D.