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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 14th (All times Eastern)

Milwaukee Bucks (5-18) at Dallas Mavericks (13-10), 8:30 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Mavericks are back in Big D for three straight games and will kick off the residency Saturday versus the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Center.

Dallas has Memphis and Toronto scheduled to visit the Lone Star State, where it is 9-2 this season.

The Mavericks went 2-2 on a recent road trip and suffered their second straight loss since winning three in a row in Wednesday's 95-93 setback to the Golden State Warriors. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis both scored 21 points and Jose Calderon added 18 for the Mavs, who couldn't fend off a fourth quarter rally by the Warriors and blew a 52-34 advantage.

Golden State erased a 78-66 Dallas lead with a 16-4 run to even the score at 82-82 with about five minutes to go. Dallas, though, went ahead by a 92-86 score with 1:26 remaining in the game, but Golden State took care of business the rest of the way. Warriors star guard Steph Curry converted a four-point play and Draymond Greed buried a big 3-pointer.

"You can take a positive from this," Ellis said. "It went all the way to the end, and they had to make a great shot. Steph (Curry) did and they won."

Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games and needs 77 points to pass Alex English (25,613) for 13th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. He needs 11 steals for 1,000 in his career.

Milwaukee has lost two in a row and five of its last seven games, including Friday's 91-90 setback to the Chicago Bulls. Mike Dunleavy buried the go-ahead 3-pointer with 5.8 seconds left to sink the Bucks, who were led by Gary Neal's 17 points off the bench.

"It should not have come down to it," Bucks head coach Larry Drew said of Dunleavy's shot. "We were in position where we should have closed that game out."

John Henson (15), O.J. Mayo (14), Brandon Knight (11) and Khris Middleton (10) all scored in double figures for Milwaukee.

The Bucks are 3-8 on the road and lost the first meeting of the season with Dallas, a 91-83 decision on Nov. 9 at the Bradley Center. Former Buck Ellis had 18 points with five assists and Nowitzki added 16 points. Former Mav Mayo posted a game-best 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting.

Dallas has won six of the last nine matchups with Milwaukee, which has lost eight of 10 and 10 of its previous 13 games at the Mavericks.

12/14 10:32:29 ET