Superstar Dirk Nowitzki has missed four straight games with a sprained right knee suffered in last Monday's loss at Oklahoma City and is listed as questionable tonight. He is averaging 24.1 points and 7.4 rebounds this season. Caron Butler did not play in Sunday's 104-95 win at Cleveland because of a potentially serious knee ailment and is out indefinitely. Butler's averaging 15.0 points this season.
Shawn Marion picked up the slack in the win over the Cavaliers with 22 points and DeShawn Stevenson added 21 for Dallas, which ended a three-game slide and got 14 points and 14 rebounds from Tyson Chandler. Jason Terry netted 18 points off the bench in a winning effort. The Cavaliers committed 15 turnovers that resulted in 20 Dallas points.
"This was a much-needed win for us, with what happened with Caron last night and the tough game," said Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. "It's been a tough 24 hours. But the guys came together and battled hard."
The Mavericks, who are 18-4 in their last 22 games overall and 17-0 when scoring 100-plus points, will also host the Thunder and Magic on the homestand and own a 13-6 record in Big D this season. They have lost back-to-back home games, however.
Meanwhile, the Blazers will commence a three-game road trip tonight through Dallas, Houston and Minnesota, and are 6-13 as the guest this season.
The Trail Blazers have won two straight and six of eight games, including Sunday's 100-85 victory over the Rockets in which LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Nicolas Batum added 21 points, while Wesley Matthews and Patrick Mills both scored 14 for the Blazers, who earned their eighth straight victory at home.
"We did a good job executing the game plan and defensively (did) a nice job of being physical," said Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
Matthews is averaging 19.2 points in 21 starts this season. Patty Mills notched career highs of 14 points and five steals off the bench in a winning cause for the Blazers, who outscored the Rockets, 25-14, in the third quarter and led by as many as 23 points in the final stanza.
The Blazers, who continue to toil without All-Star guard Brandon Roy because of knee issues, suffered a 103-98 loss in Dallas on Dec. 15 this season. Nowitzki scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Mavs, who are 20-5 in the previous 25 matchups between the teams.
Portland has dropped 12 of 14 and 15 of its last 18 trips to Big D.