Plenty to Work on

His team's first losing streak of the season is over, but Dallas coach Avery Johnson thinks he still has plenty of work to do.

Now, the Mavericks will get a chance to work out the kinks Friday when they host a Portland Trail Blazers team they have dominated at home recently.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Dallas -13 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 197.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 77% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -13 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Trying to end a three-game losing streak, Johnson inserted Jason Terry and Erick Dampier into the starting lineup on Wednesday for the first time this season in place of Trenton Hassell and DeSagana Diop. The lineup of Terry, Dampier, Dirk Nowitzki, Devin Harris and Josh Howard - one of the most effective in the league last season when the Mavericks won 67 games - helped spark a strong first half, and Dallas held on to beat Minnesota 109-103.

Nowitzki finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Harris had 22 points.

"We wanted to go back to our old lineup, five guys who are familiar with each other," Johnson said. "But hopefully we won't have to use it again for the rest of the season."

Terry had been playing as a reserve, and Johnson wants to continue using him as a spark off the bench.

"We still think to win a championship we have to be bigger at the two spot," Johnson told the Mavericks' official team Web site.

The Mavericks improved to 7-1 at home. They'll have a good chance to build some momentum against the slumping Trail Blazers, who are 0-7 on the road this season and have dropped 11 straight away from home dating to last season.

Dallas has won eight straight at home against Portland since a 100-93 loss on Jan. 26, 2003. Overall, the Mavericks had won 13 in a row against the Blazers - a franchise record for Dallas against a single opponent - before falling 91-82 on Nov. 10.

"This is a huge win for us. We said it was a statement game for us," Portland's Brandon Roy said after that game. "We didn't care how Dallas was going to come in here and play, we just wanted to play with a big effort. They beat us 13 times and we didn't want it to be 14."

The Blazers held Nowitzki, who leads the Mavericks with 21.7 points per game, to a season-low 11 points. Meanwhile, Roy, last season's Rookie of the Year, scored a career-best 32.

However, Roy has struggled in his last two games, scoring a total of 22 points while shooting just 25 percent from the field. He had 10 points in Wednesday's 95-89 loss to Indiana - Portland's seventh defeat in eight games.

"It's tough for me, but I've got to play through it and play through it," Roy said. "I don't think it's mechanics. It's confidence more than anything else."

Travis Outlaw had a season-high 26 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge, who leads the team with 18.8 per game, chipped in 22 as Portland wrapped up a 1-3 homestand.

"We're getting looks," coach Nate McMillan said. "Sometimes we're OK, and sometimes we're turning the ball over. We're not getting the attempts we want."

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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