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Saturday, February 4, 2012
W2W4: Mavs try to avoid 3-game skid

By Jeff Caplan

The Dallas Mavericks hit the road riding a two-game losing skid, with both losses coming on their home court. The last time that happened, the Mavs fell to 0-3 after losing on a buzzer-beater at Oklahoma City.

Tonight's opponent, the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers, are just 3-5 at home but have played pretty well and have tough losses on their ledger. Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving has instilled some enthusiasm in a franchise that was decimated when LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.

The Mavs won't get anything easy in this one, so they'll need to be prepared to grind it out for 48 minutes if they plan to come home for a three-day break with a win instead of a three-game losing skid.

Records: Mavs (14-10); Cavaliers (8-13)

When: 6:30 p.m.

Where: Quicken Loans Arena

TV: FSSW

Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM; 1270 AM (Spanish)

What to watch: Dirk Nowitzki got his groove back Friday night with a season-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting. Now comes the challenge of building on that outing in a back-to-back sequence. Rick Carlisle managed to limit Nowitzki to 33 minutes, so he figures to be decently rested tonight.

Key matchup: Kyrie Irving vs. Rodrigue Beaubois
Things have gotten a bit tough lately for Beaubois as he continues to start in place of the injured Jason Kidd. Now he and the Mavs get an up-close look at leading rookie of the year candidate Kyrie Irving. The 6-foot-3 Duke product is trying to make the city of Cleveland forget all about LeBron. He's averaging 18.0 points and close to 50 percent shooting and 5.0 assists.

Injuries: Mavs -- G Jason Kidd (strained right calf ) is out. Cavs -- G Anthony Parker (low back strain) is out; G Daniel Gibson (soft tissue infection in neck) is out; F Tristan Thompson (left ankle sprain) is out.

Up next: Mavs at Denver Nuggets, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday