Mavericks-Warriors Preview

Golden State coach Mark Jackson believes Stephen Curry is

playing his best basketball, though that effort might go for naught

unless the Warriors can return to form defensively.

Golden State takes on two of the highest-scoring teams in the

league to open a home-heavy stretch, the first coming against the

Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

Having moved past an early season ankle injury and a concussion

that caused him to miss two games last month, Curry is in the midst

of a torrid stretch for Golden State (12-10).

Two days after matching a career high with 15 assists in a

108-82 victory at Memphis, Curry finished with a season-high 43

points, five 3-pointers and nine assists in a 115-111 loss at

Charlotte on Monday.

The fifth-year guard has averaged 30.1 points while hitting 26

3s in his last seven games. On the season, he’s averaging career

highs of 23.6 points and 8.9 assists.

”He’s been playing at a whole different level,” Jackson said.

”He’s playing and acting like he’s the best player on the floor

night in and night out, carrying us down the stretch, making plays,

choosing when to take over offensively and he knows when to

facilitate.”

In Golden State’s first meeting of the season with the Mavericks

(13-9), Curry had a game-high 29 points and went 6 of 10 from

3-point range in a 103-99 loss in Dallas on Nov. 27.

After going 4-4 in a stretch in which seven of eight were on the

road, the Warriors will play seven of their next nine in Oakland.

Curry seeks his fourth straight double-double at home, where Golden

State has won six of eight.

The Warriors, though, have dropped seven of 11 overall, with

those woes due in large part to struggles on the defensive end.

Since allowing opponents to reach 100 points three times during its

8-3 start, Golden State has let teams score at least that many nine

times in the past 11 games.

It will face yet another challenge in Dallas, which ranks in the

top 10 in the league with 103.4 points per game and a 46.0 shooting

percentage. The Warriors host Houston, the highest-scoring team in

the NBA at 107.5 points a contest, on Friday.

The Mavericks had a three-game winning streak snapped in

Monday’s 112-97 loss at Sacramento, which was short-handed because

of a multiplayer trade earlier in the day.

Monta Ellis finished with 21 points on 9 of 18 from the field

and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points and seven assists, but Dallas

shot 38.9 percent – including 5 for 27 from beyond the arc.

Ellis, averaging a team-best 21.5 points, was coming off his

buzzer-beater in Saturday’s 108-106 victory at Western

Conference-leading Portland. The veteran guard, who played for

Golden State from 2005-12, scored 26 to help Mliwaukee to a 103-93

victory in his last game at Oakland on March 9. However, he had a

season-low four points on 2-of-16 shooting Nov. 27.

After dropping six of their first eight road games, the

Mavericks look to wrap up this four-game trip with three wins.

“We were doing great on the road,” guard Jose Calderon told the

team’s official website. “It was two (wins) in a row, so we wanted

to go four out of four. … We’ve got to try to put that one out

(of our minds) and just try to forget about it.”

The Warriors have taken the last two overall meetings and three

of four in Oakland.