Mavs return home to face Clippers

( - The Dallas Mavericks look to carry their winning ways from the road back to Big D when they open a three-game homestand Friday versus the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Mavericks went 3-0 on a recent road trip and posted their fourth consecutive win as the guest with Wednesday's 87-78 triumph at Washington. Monta Ellis scored a game-high 23 points, Vince Carter added 13 and Jose Calderon chipped in 11 points for the Mavericks, who improved to 9-5 in their last 14 games.

Ellis made 7-of-18 from the field and has scored 20 or more points 20 times.

"He makes big plays for us all the time," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said about Ellis. "His string of free throws to end the game was the decisive factor. Everybody played hard and that's the important thing."

Dallas was down by a 55-48 score in the third quarter and used an 11-0 run to grab a 59-55 edge. The Wizards would take a 74-70 lead with less than five minutes to go in the game and Dallas responded by scoring 17 of the next 21 points to seal the win. The Mavs had a 44-34 advantage in the paint.

The Mavs are a season-best six games over .500 and opponents are averaging just 86.3 points per game in the past three. The 78 points allowed in Washington were a season low, besting the 82 points given up to Charlotte on Dec. 3. Dallas is 13-2 when keeping the opposition under 100 points.

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was held to nine points against the Wizards and needs one offensive rebound to take over sole possession on the franchise's all-time list. He currently has 1,296 offensive boards and is tied with James Donaldson on the list.

Fellow forward Shawn Marion needs one point for 17,000 in his career. He will join Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone and Kevin Garnett as the only players in NBA history with at least 17,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocks.

Dallas will also host New York and the Los Angeles Lakers on the homestand and has an 11-4 mark at American Airlines Center. It has dropped two in a row in Big D.

Los Angeles will hit the road for two games in Dallas and San Antonio, and went 2-1 on a recent homestand. In Wednesday's 112-85 besting of the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center, the Clippers used a big second half to dispose of the Bobcats, outscoring them 56-29 over the final 24 minutes.

"I thought the second half was the full standard that we want to play at where we score and get stops," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "We held them to 29. That's who I want to be. The first half we were shooting 50-whatever percent but it was a tie game (56-56). I didn't really enjoy that half, but the second half was fantastic."

Blake Griffin had 31 points and 12 rebounds, Chris Paul posted 17 points and 14 assists and Jared Dudley ended with 20 points for the Clippers, who won for the ninth time in their last 13 games and shot 55.3 percent from the floor.

"When you move the ball side to side, it opens up the floor," said Dudley, who made 6-of-9 3-pointers. "When I see the ball go in, it brings confidence. I was aggressive tonight."

The Clippers are 13-1 when Dudley scores at least 10 points. DeAndre Jordan compiled six points and 12 rebounds in the win.

L.A. has an 8-9 road record this season and has lost two straight and three of its last four games outside Staples Center.

Los Angeles and Dallas will play the first of four meetings this season and are scheduled to clash again Jan. 15, March 27 and April 3. The Clippers took two of three matchups in this series a season ago, but the Mavericks have won 12 of the past 16 games.

The Clippers have lost 14 of 16 and 17 of their last 20 at Dallas.