Though the Dallas Mavericks have played well at home, they won’t take anything for granted during the longest stay in club history.
They’ll look for a fourth consecutive victory at home and overall Wednesday night against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that has fared well in Dallas of late.
A day after concluding a 2-1 trip with a 109-86 win over Oklahoma City, Dallas (41-27) opened a franchise-high eight-game homestand by grinding out a 94-89 victory over lowly Boston on Monday. Five Mavericks scored in double figures as Dallas overcame a 42.3 percent shooting effort by holding the Celtics to 36.6 percent.
Boston, though, wiped out most of two double-digit deficits in the second half and was within one point in the final minute thanks to a 57-36 rebounding advantage that included 21 offensive boards.
"We all know that after an emotional and tough win on the road (over the Thunder) sometimes it’s hard to get up the next day, especially against a team that so-called does not have a great record," said Dirk Nowitzki, who had 19 points on 6-of-17 shooting and has scored fewer than 20 in four of five. "But we wanted to get this win somehow and it wasn’t pretty. We’re fortunate to come away with the win."
Seventh in the Western Conference, the Mavericks have won five of six and matched their win total from last season Monday. Dallas has taken 11 of 15 at home and allowed an average of 93.7 points in the last three there, but five of the next seven during the home stretch are against teams currently above .500.
The Mavericks hope Monday’s resiliency will pay off for the rest of the homestand.
"I think we’ve always had a winning attitude," guard Devin Harris said. "We have a veteran group, so (this home stretch) can really push us where we want to be. I think guys know what’s at stake."
Though Minnesota (33-32) is 10th in the West and 5 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot, it’s won two of three against the Mavericks this season and three of the last four in Dallas.
Kevin Martin scored 27 while Nikola Pekovic added 21 as the Timberwolves shot 50.6 percent in a 112-106 win at the American Airlines Center on Nov. 30.
"We’ve got to get ready for them, it’s always been a physical game with them," said Dallas forward Shawn Marion, who had a season-high 32 points and blocked Kevin Love’s jumper at the buzzer in the Mavericks’ 100-98 victory at Minnesota on Dec. 30, the most recent meeting.
Love has averaged 30.4 points in his last five against the Mavericks. He’s totaled 68 points in two home games versus Dallas this season, but had 21 on Nov. 30 – more than five below his season average.
He finished with 26 points and 10 boards and Martin scored 31 as the Timberwolves overcame 48.2 percent shooting from Sacramento to win 104-102 at home Sunday.
Though Minnesota has its highest victory total in eight seasons, it’s alternated losses and wins in the last six.
After recording season highs of 12 points and 11 rebounds in his first start Sunday, rookie center Gorgui Dieng could again see more time if Pekovic misses a second straight contest with ankle soreness.