NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 25th (All times eastern)
Milwaukee Bucks (28-31) at Dallas Mavericks (33-23), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Dallas Mavericks will be hoping to solidify their playoff standing when the team begins an important three-game homestand with tonight's showdown versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
Dallas enters tonight's play leading hard-charging Phoenix by just one game for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Western Conference. The Suns closed the gap with last night's victory over Charlotte, while the Mavericks were dealt a 93-76 loss at rival San Antonio on Tuesday.
Despite playing without perennial All-Star Tim Duncan, the Spurs cruised to the 17-point win behind a 37-point, 12-assist showing from Tony Parker. San Antonio also played lockdown defense on the Mavs, with Dallas shooting an anemic 34.2 percent from the field on the night.
Josh Howard led the Mavericks with 19 points and Jose Barea finished with 16 in the loss.
Dallas has had contrasting results at home and on the road in recent weeks. The club has won seven of its last eight tilts at the American Airlines Center, but suffered its third straight loss as the visitor in Tuesday's setback.
The Mavericks own an impressive 19-8 home mark for the season and will also face Oklahoma City and Toronto on this residency. The team won't have Jason Terry for any of those contests, however, as the high-scoring guard is still sidelined with a broken left finger that has caused him to miss the last six games.
Milwaukee is also fighting for a playoff spot at the moment, and the Bucks helped their cause with a big home win over Northwest Division leader Denver on Sunday. Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions each came through with huge performances to the lead the Bucks to a 120-117 decision.
Villanueva scored a season-high 36 points on 14-of-23 shooting, including 7- of-11 from three-point range, while Sessions recorded 27 points and dished out eight assists.
Richard Jefferson added 17 points to help the Bucks earn their fourth win in the last six games. That strong stretch has put Milwaukee into eighth place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of Chicago.
The Bucks will be trying to stop a five-game losing streak to the Mavericks in Dallas, with Milwaukee last posting a road win in the series on December 30, 2002.
However, the Bucks did rout the Mavs by a 133-99 score at the Bradley Center back on January 21, with Villanueva leading the way with 32 points and 10 rebounds.
02/25 10:43:02 ET