After a day of R & R in Phoenix on Monday and a practice in the desert today, the Dallas Mavericks will take their four-game winning streak to Los Angeles for the second set of three consecutive back-to-backs on this season-long, six game road trip.
The Los Angeles Clippers are up first Wednesday night before Thursday's Battle Royale against the Los Angeles Lakers (53-20). An L.A. win would give it a firm grip on the No. 2 seed, while a Mavs victory earns a regular-season series win and gives Dallas a fighter's chance to re-claim the all-important No. 2 seed (the Lakers will own the tiebreaker by virtue of being a division winner, assuming the Mavs don't catch the suddenly injury-ravaged San Antonio Spurs).
Of course, the Spurs' untimely injury luck has suddenly cracked the door open for the Lakers -- if not the Mavs, too -- to make a run at the top seed.
With that, here's some odds and ends after Dallas took the first two games of the road trip:
*The Mavs scored 42 more points from 3-point range than the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns combined. Dallas was 8-of-19 from beyond the arc in Utah and 10-of-26 in Phoenix. Meanwhile, the Jazz hit just 3-of-12 and the Suns, fourth in the NBA in 3-point percentage (38.2), went 1-of-16.
*Dirk Nowitzki extended his consecutive made free throw streak to 74, going 11-of-11 over the weekend. Despite a tough two games from the field (11-of-31), Nowitzki remains on track to shoot better than 50 percent for the second time in his career. He's at 52.3 percent. His pursuit of the exclusive 50-40-90 club is gaining steam thanks to his run at the free throw line, where he's now at 89.4 percent. Nowitzki is shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range.
*Peja Stojakovic was in a 3-of-19 funk from 3-point range before missing six games with a stiff neck. In his four games back he is 11-of-21. However, after taking 16 3-pointers in his first two games back and combining for 33 points, he's taken just five in the last two games, making two and combining for 10 points.
*Tyson Chandler tied a season-high with 18 rebounds Sunday. He's recorded double-digit rebounds in three of the last four games and has 52 boards in those four games -- 15 on the offensive glass.
*The Mavs will go into Thursday's game against the Lakers with a 13-4 record on the second night of a back-to-back.
*The Mavs grabbed 16 0ffensive rebounds for the fourth time this season Sunday against the Suns, one shy of their season-high of 17 on March 10 against the New York Knicks. In that game, Dallas converted the extra chances into 30 points, but they got just nine on Sunday.
*Dallas held the Jazz to 34 points in the second half and the Suns to 30 second-half points.
*The Mavs are 2-0 against the Clippers this season, winning by 16 in L.A. on Oct. 31 and by seven in Dallas on Jan. 25.
The Final Nine:
Wed @ Clippers
Thur @ Lakers
Sat @ Warriors
Sun @ Trail Blazers
Apr 6 vs. Nuggets
Apr 8 vs. Clippers
Apr 10 vs. Suns
Apr 11 @ Rockets
Apr 13 vs. Hornets