The Mavericks lost both tests of a recent two-game homestand versus the Thunder and Pacers, and dropped a 98-87 decision to Indiana last night. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 30 points and seven rebounds, while Vince Carter contributed 14 points and five assists.
"I had some good looks and knocked them down. I finally got into a good rhythm. The strength in my legs is coming back. Hard work always pays off," Nowitzki said.
Jason Terry added 10 points off the bench for the Mavs, who have endured consecutive losses since winning three straight and six of seven games. Dallas guard Jason Kidd missed his fourth consecutive game because of a strained right calf. He is expected to miss Saturday's game at Cleveland.
Dallas will also visit the Nuggets and Timberwolves on the trip and is 5-5 away from home this season. The Mavs sit just one game behind San Antonio for the top spot in the Southwest Division.
Cleveland has lost two straight, three of four and seven of its last nine games, including Friday's 102-94 setback at Orlando.
Alonzo Gee scored a career-high 20 points and rookie Kyrie Irving had 18 for Cleveland, which made 36.7 percent of its shots and lost despite having a 57-45 advantage on the glass. Antawn Jamison added 16 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort.
"I don't know what we have to do as far as trying to bring that same rhythm that we had in the fourth quarter to the first quarter, but we'll figure it out," said Cleveland head coach Byron Scott.
Scott's team was coming off a home-and-home split with Boston. It is 3-5 at home this season and will play 10 of the next 11 games at the Q. The Cavs were without guards Daniel Gibson (neck) and Anthony Parker (back) and forward Tristan Thompson (ankle) on Friday. They're questionable for this evening.
Cleveland and Dallas are meeting for the first time since the Mavs swept a home-and-home set a year ago. The Mavericks have won three straight and six of 10 meetings with the Cavs.