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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, April 7th (All times eastern)

Portland Trail Blazers (31-44) at Dallas Mavericks (62-13), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Southwest Division-champion Dallas Mavericks have hit a snag and will try to right the ship tonight in the opener of a short two-game homestand versus the Portland Trail Blazers at American Airlines Center.

Dallas has lost two of its last three games after ripping off nine straight win. In Friday's 75-71 setback to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center, Dirk Nowitzki returned from a bout of food poisoning to score 22 points and pull down 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who remain on top of the Western Conference with a comfortable lead.

Jason Terry chipped in 13 points, while Erick Dampier had 11 points and 13 boards in a losing cause.

The playoff-bound Mavericks have won three straight at home and will also host the Los Angeles Clippers at American Airlines Center, where they are 33-4 this season. In injury news for Dallas, guard Josh Howard (ankle) is questionable for Saturday's game against Portland. Howard went down with a sprain last night versus Denver.

The Blazers, meanwhile, have won two in a row and will resume their three-game road trip in Dallas. On Friday Portland notched an 85-78 win over the Houston Rockets in the opener of the trip at the Toyota Center.

Rookie of the Year candidate Brandon Roy recorded a game-high 24 points and Jarrett Jack added 23 points for Portland, which won its second straight outing following a four-game slide.

Portland will also visit San Antonio on the trip and is 14-23 away from the Rose Garden this season. It is also 6 1/2 games off the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Saturday's showdown between Dallas and Portland is the third and final meeting of the season. The Mavs are 2-0 so far in the season series and have won 12 straight and 13 of the last 14 meetings.

Portland has lost seven straight and 10 of its last 11 trips to Dallas.

04/07 11:07:02 ET

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