Mavs host Blazers in Big D

Dallas will kick off a three-game homestand tonight by welcoming the Portland Trail Blazers to American Airlines Center.

The reigning NBA champion Mavericks have won two straight after an uncharacteristic three-game skid, including Friday's 104-97 win in Minneapolis against the Timberwolves.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 33 points in that one while Jason Terry added 16 points. Vince Carter had 12 and Jason Kidd returned from a six-game absence due to a calf injury to hand out 10 assists.

"He's a big part of our heart and soul," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Kidd. "When we're without him, we can win some games but we're not the same team."

After tonight's game vs. Portland, the Mavs, who are 9-5 in Big D, will finish their residency against the Clippers and Nuggets. Dallas, which has lost two in a row at home, hasn't dropped three straight on its floor since a four-game hiccup to begin the 2008-09 season.

The Blazers, meanwhile, got a rare road win Friday over hapless New Orleans. Jamal Crawford dropped a season-high 31 points and added a game-high eight assists off the bench, as Portland pulled away from the Hornets, 94-86.

Raymond Felton added 18 points, while Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge each contributed 14 for the Blazers, who stopped a two-game skid and improved to 4-9 as the visitor, although two of those victories are against the hapless Hornets.

"Sometimes it's not about how you win, but the fact that you win," Portland head coach Nate McMillan said. "New Orleans played hard and they scrapped and played a good game. We did the things we needed to do down the stretch."

The Blazers have lost five consecutive and 20 of their last 25 in North Texas, including all three games there during last year's Western Conference quarterfinals.