(Sports Network) - A year ago a matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks would be one to tune in for. Tonight it should be another walk in the park for the Mavs, who will shoot for their ninth straight win versus the declining Cavs from American Airlines Center.
The Cavaliers established a new low with their NBA-record 24th consecutive loss on Saturday against Portland, breaking the old mark of 23 straight defeats held previously by the 1995-96 Grizzlies and 1997-98 Nuggets. In the loss to the Blazers, Antawn Jamison led seven players in double figures with 17 points and Ramon Sessions added 15.
Jamario Moon finished with 14 points, Christian Eyenga, Daniel Gibson and Manny Harris had 12 points apiece and J.J. Hickson ended with 11 points for the Cavs, who have lost 10 straight at home and are 5-17 as the host.
"It's not a matter of if we're going to win, it's when. We've just got to keep playing that hard," Cavs head coach Byron Scott said.
Cleveland hasn't tasted victory since beating New York in overtime on Dec. 18. The Cavs are on the road now and their last win away from Quicken Loans Arena was on Nov. 9 versus New Jersey, having lost 25 in a row as the guest. They dropped 19 in a row to close out the 1981-82 season and went on to lose the first five in 1982-83 for a team-worst 24-game skid.
The Cavs have struggled mightily without LeBron James, who's in Miami, and own a 3-26 ledger outside of the Forest City this season. After tonight's game in Dallas, they will return to the Q for an eight-game residency versus the Pistons, Clippers, Wizards, Lakers, Rockets, Knicks, 76ers and Spurs.
Dallas is simply on another level when it comes to winning and will try to stay on the hot seat Monday night in Big D, where it sports a 19-8 mark and has won five in a row.
The Mavs completed a perfect three-game road trip with Saturday's 101-92 triumph in Charlotte, as Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 25 points and Jason Terry netted 21 off the bench for Dallas, which got 15 points from Jose Barea and 13 points out of Jason Kidd.
"Balance has been our calling card all season long. We can't pile it on Dirk (Nowitzki's) back every night," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle. "We've got to have a lot of other guys do it. Our injures this season have allowed other guys to learn a higher level of responsibility and right now you can see where those benefits have come."
Dallas, which is 14-0 all-time against Charlotte, has netted more than 100 points in seven straight games and is 25-1 when hitting the century mark in scoring. Nowitzki is averaging 25.2 ppg in his last five games, while Kidd has scored in double figures in five out of the last six games.
After hosting the Cavaliers on Monday, the Mavericks will hit the road again for three straight contests in Sacramento, Denver and Houston.
The Mavs defeated Cleveland, 104-95, early last month and have won 14 of the past 20 meetings between the two clubs. The Cavs have lost eight of 10 visits to Big D.