Mavs try to end slide vs. Lakers

( - Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks look to put a stop to their two-game slide when they play the next three games at home, starting with Friday's showdown versus Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Mavs had won three in a row and 10 of 13 games prior to the current losing streak and suffered a 124-115 loss in Phoenix on Tuesday. Suns guard Eric Bledsoe picked up his second career triple-double with 16 points, 11 assists and a team-high 10 rebounds.

Tyson Chandler led Dallas with 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Nowitzki also scored 22 points. Charlie Villanueva finished with 18 points in 20 minutes off the bench, Monta Ellis had 15 points and Rajon Rondo ended with 13 points, eight assists, six boards and five turnovers in defeat.

Dallas, which committed 20 turnovers and shot 46.6 percent, is 1-2 since trading for Rondo and he leads the NBA with 10.6 assists per game.

"We had too many (turnovers)," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "Turnovers caught up with us and we're just struggling to defend. We've just got to do a better job with it."

Nowitzki needs six points to pass Elvin Hayes (27,313) for eighth on the NBA's all-time scoring list. The German sensation trails Moses Malone (27,409) for seventh on the list. Nowitzki (9,599) is approaching Robert Parish (9,614) for 15th on the NBA's all-time field goals made list.

Nowitzki (1,216) will also tie former teammate and current injured Laker Steve Nash (1,217) for 27th on the games played list.

Oklahoma City and Washington will also visit the Mavs, who have a 10-5 record in Big D this season and are first in scoring with 109.6 ppg.

The Lakers will make a quick turnaround after dropping a 113-93 decision to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas. Playing without Bryant (soreness) for a second straight games, the Lakers were led by Wesley Johnson's 19 points and nine rebounds.

Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, for Los Angeles, which faced former big man Pau Gasol. Gasol left the Lakers for the Bulls in the offseason and recorded 23 points, 13 boards and two blocks.

"It was weird, difficult at first to get going," Gasol admitted. "Once you start playing, you're just playing the best game you can."

Gasol was asked about Bryant and the Lakers' current struggles.

"The team is struggling right now and it's difficult to see him struggle," Gasol said of Bryant and the Lakers. "The game in LA will probably be a little more emotional than this one."

Bryant will have his minutes monitored to stay fresh for the long haul. He is third in the NBA with 24.6 ppg and will most likely miss Friday's game.

The Lakers have lost three in a row and five of the last seven road games, and have a 5-10 ledger as the visitor.

LA suffered a 140-106 loss in Dallas on Nov. 21, as the Mavericks buried 18 of their 35 3-point attempts and finished with three players with more than 20 points. Nowitzki had 23, Chandler Parsons recorded 21 and Ellis added 20.

Jeremy Lin and Bryant scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, in that one for the Lakers, who are winless in the last four games in this series. Los Angeles lost all three games against the Mavs last season, but is still 9-5 in the past 14 encounters between the Western foes.

The Lakers have lost their previous three visits to Dallas after a five-game win streak there.