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Monday, January 9, 2012
Week ahead: The President and the road

By Jeff Caplan

It's not every day you start the week with a visit to the White House. The reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks are in Washington D.C. and will meet President Barack Obama today before taking off for Detroit and the first multi-city road trip of the season.

Dallas, 0-3 in one-nighters to Oklahoma City, Minnesota and San Antonio, will attempt to get their first road victory as well even their record (4-5) for the first time. They will do so with Jason Kidd having left the White House to return to Dallas to rehab the lower back injury that will keep him out at least these next two games.

"The first road win is more important than anything," Jason Terry said. "Get out here on the road and really have some fun and enjoy doing what we do because, again, it’s about taking steps along this long journey that we’re on. Winning your first road game is a step towards where we’re headed."

Here's a quick glance at this week's games against four teams that are a combined 11-23:

Tuesday: at Detroit Pistons (2-6), 6:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: FSSW/103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: The Mavs will be hanging out in the greater Auburn Hills area Monday night while the Pistons will look to snap a three-game skid in Chicago. Detroit is off to a ragged start, ranking last in the league in scoring (84.3 ppg) and near the bottom (along with the Mavs) in field-goal percentage (41.7). Dallas will have had two days to rest some weary legs and although it b without point guard Jason Kidd (lower back), this game represents a major opportunity to get to .500 before playing at Boston the following night.

Wednesday: at Boston Celtics (4-4), 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: ESPN/103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Talk about walking into a buzz saw. Dallas will close out a back-to-back against a Celtics team that will have not played since an 87-74 loss at Indiana on Friday. That's four consecutive nights without a game and the Celtics, who also have Paul Pierce back in the lineup, will have gone since Jan. 1 and 2 without a back-to-back, so figure which team should have the energy factor working in their favor.

Friday: vs. Milwaukee Bucks (2-7), 7:30 p.m.
TV/Radio: FSSW/103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Bucks center Andrew Bogut hasn't played since Jan. 2 to tend to a personal matter. Since then, Milwaukee has lost four consecutive games and five in a row overall. Dallas won't underestimate this team, however, after the Bucks ended the Mavs' 12-game in streak at the AAC in the early portion of last season. Bogut had 21 points and 14 rebounds in that game. Brandon Jennings is pacing the Bucks so far this season, averaging 20.0 points a game, although he is shooting just 41.1 percent, and 5.6 assists. Milwaukee will come to town after playing in Detroit the night before.

Saturday: vs. Sacramento Kings (3-6), 8 p.m.
TV/Radio: FSSW/103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: Second-year center DeMarcus Cousins won a battle of wills with former Mavs assistant coach Paul Westphal, making Westphal the first coach this season to be shown the door. The Kings boast a young and talented -- albeit raw -- roster that includes Marcus Thornton (19.4 ppg), Tyreke Evans (15.8 ppg) and Jimmer Fredette (9.4 ppg). The Kings are 0-3 on the road and this game will be their fourth in five nights and fourth of a five-game road trip.