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Mavericks Host Dwight Howard, Magic

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Mavericks are 2-4 since Dirk Nowitzki went down and hope to survive Saturday night without their superstar in the finale of a three-game homestand versus the streaking Orlando Magic in Big D.

Nowitzki, who's averaging 24.1 points and 7.4 rebounds, has missed the last six games with a sore right knee. The nine-time All-Star is not expected to play tonight and was injured in a win at Oklahoma City on Dec. 27. In Dallas' 99-95 loss to the Thunder on Thursday, Shawn Marion led the way with a season- best 25 points and Jason Terry added 19.

Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson finished with 14 points apiece for the Mavs, who had a modest two-game winning streak halted and fell to 1-1 on the homestand. Dallas is 14-7 as the host this season.

"It really was a tale of the first quarter versus the last three," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "We had a very good first quarter, with a seven point lead, then we lost the last three quarters."

Terry is averaging 18.3 over his last three games since moving back into the starting lineup. Chandler matched a season high with 18 rebounds in defeat.

After completing a perfect four-game homestand with Friday's 110-95 victory over the Houston Rockets, Orlando will begin a five-game road trip Saturday against the Mavericks, Hornets, Thunder, Timberwolves and Celtics.

Jason Richardson and Brandon Bass were instrumental in the win over the Rockets, scoring 18 points apiece, while Dwight Howard added 13 and 11 rebounds for the Magic, who have won eight in a row and six straight at Amway Center.

"We had the right mindset tonight," Howard said.

Ryan Anderson scored all 16 of his points in the second half in the win.

Orlando has won two in a row on the road and is 9-7 as the guest in 2010-11.

Dallas topped Orlando, 105-99, back on Dec. 21 this season in central Florida thanks to 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists from Nowitzki. Nowitzki eclipsed Celtics legend Larry Bird for 25th on the NBA's all-time scoring list in the process.

The Mavs have won seven of the past nine meetings with the Magic, who have won two straight after losing the last 10 at Dallas.

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