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Mavericks Host Undefeated Hornets

(Sports Network) - Extending the best start in franchise history will not be an easy task tonight for the unbeaten New Orleans Hornets, who hope to snap a three-game road losing streak to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Hornets have lost 16 of their last 17 games in Big D and split a four-game series against the Mavericks last season, with each team holding serve as the host. Dallas has won 26 of the past 33 matchups against the Hornets.

New Orleans recently defeated the visiting Portland Trail Blazers, 107-87, on Saturday in the Big Easy, as David West and Marco Belinelli scored 18 points apiece to lead the charge. Emeka Okafor had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Paul, Peja Stojakovic and Willie Green scored 11 points apiece.

"It's good to get a win and play our style of basketball, " said New Orleans forward Trevor Ariza, who had 10 points and five rebounds. "It's defense every night. It's been the key for us. We're all supposed to be one unit and that's what we try to display out there on the defensive end."

New Orleans, which began both the 2006-07 and 2007-08 campaigns with 4-0 marks, shot 48.1 percent for the game. It is 3-0 away from home in 2010-11.

Dallas, meanwhile, squeezed out a 99-90 home win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday for its third straight victory and fifth in six contests.

Jose Barea finished with a game-high 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 for the Mavericks, who got 11 points and 12 rebounds from Tyson Chandler. Jason Terry netted 13 points in the win.

"Our offense has been very good the last two games," Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's something we talked about heading into the season, that it was going to be part of defining who we are as an exceptional team. We're going to stick with it. A lot of guys contributed to it."

Brendan Haywood grabbed 17 rebounds and scored six points, while Jason Kidd chipped in 10 points and eight assists. In injury news for the Mavs, forward Caron Butler has missed back-to-back games with back spasms and is listed as probable for Monday's game. He is averaging 14.7 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Shawn Marion has started in Butler's place and is averaging 18.0 points per game in his two starts. Marion scored 16 points against the Sixers.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.