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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, January 4th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (8-24) at Dallas Mavericks (21-11), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The slumping Miami Heat will try to put the brakes on a five-game losing streak, as they visit the Dallas Mavericks tonight at American Airlines Center.

This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. Miami is scheduled to host the Mavericks on March 16th at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Mavericks have won six straight over the Heat, who have lost five in a row at Dallas.

The Heat, who beat Dallas in six games in the 2006 NBA Finals, last defeated the Mavericks during the regular season on March 26, 2004 in South Beach.

Miami opens a five-game road trip this evening. On Wednesday, Maurice Williams ended with 25 points and nine assists as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Heat, 103-98, at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Dwyane Wade finished with 27 points and eight assists in the loss for the Heat, who have dropped five in a row and seven of their last eight games. Ricky Davis added 23 points and Chris Quinn netted 12 for Miami, which was without center Shaquille O'Neal.

O'Neal, who has missed three straight games, is questionable for tonight's contest. He is averaging 14.0 points and 7.8 rebounds in 29 outings this season. Point guard Jason Williams (left knee inflammation) and forward Dorell Wright (sprained left ankle) are also questionable for the Heat.

The Heat are 4-13 on the road this season. They will also visit Memphis, Minnesota, Milwaukee and New Orleans on the current swing.

Dallas tries to win its third straight game, as it wraps up a three-game homestand. Reigning MVP Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and pulled down eight rebounds and the Mavericks outscored the Golden State Warriors 32-14 in the fourth quarter en route to a 121-99 victory on Wednesday at American Airlines Center.

Josh Howard contributed 19 points and 13 rebounds for Dallas, which has won seven of its last nine games overall. Devin Harris scored 17 in the win over Golden State, while Jerry Stackhouse netted 16 off the bench and Erick Dampier collected 13 points and seven boards.

The Mavericks, who have won seven of their last eight as the host, are 15-3 at home this season. They will visit Al Jefferson and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday at the Target Center.

01/04 10:30:12 ET

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