Mavs, Celtics put winning streaks to the test

( - Two teams hoping to keep winning streaks intact clash Sunday night at TD Garden, where the Dallas Mavericks will take on the hometown Boston Celtics.

The Mavericks enter the opener of their three-game road trip winners of four straight, while Boston has reeled off three wins in a row since losing four straight and 16 of the previous 21 contests.

Dallas will also visit Charlotte and Indiana, and has a 12-13 road record this season. It kept the winning streak going with Friday's 103-81 bashing of the Utah Jazz in Big D, as Monta Ellis led the way with 22 points and Dirk Nowitzki followed with 20.

Samuel Dalembert and Jose Calderon each scored 12 points for the Mavs, who shot 46.9 percent from the field and made 10-of-18 3-pointers. The Mavericks used a 17-2 burst for an eight-point lead at 31-23 and later scored 17 of 20 points to go ahead, 52-37.

Dallas held Utah to 14 points in the fourth quarter.

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle still needs to see improvement.

"I'm not happy about anything. At this point, we're shoring it up, we're doing better with it, but we can't start feeling too good," Carlisle admitted. "I feel like we've improved, that we're on a good path and that we've just got to stick with it."

Dallas is a season-high nine games over .500 and has prevailed in five of the last six games. It has scored 100-plus points in seven straight games and is 19-4 when holding the opposition under that many points.

Meanwhile, Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points in six straight games, posting an average of 28.2 ppg in that span. He is shooting 61.1 percent from the floor over his current run.

Nowitzki (26,125) is also approaching Celtics legend John Havlicek (26,395) for 12th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

Boston made it three straight wins with Friday's 99-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings at TD Garden.

Jared Sullinger scored a career-high 31 points to go along with 16 rebounds, while Gerald Wallace tallied eight points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for Boston, which was without starting backcourt Rajon Rondo (knee soreness) and Avery Bradley (ankle). Rondo is probable and Bradley is questionable Sunday.

Jerryd Bayless and Jeff Green scored 19 and 17 points, respectively.

Sullinger is averaging 23.9 points and 9.3 rebounds in his last four games.

"I think we're doing a better job looking for him (Sullinger)," said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. "He's capable and I'm not saying that you have to get a double-double every day but he's darn near capable of doing that."

The Celtics won four in a row from Nov. 6-11 this season and three straight to start the month of December. They are 11-15 at home this season

Boston and Dallas split a pair of meetings last season with each team holding ground as the host. The Mavericks have won five of the last six games in this series and are 10-4 in the past 14 trips to Beantown.