DENVER -- The Dallas Mavericks left town late Tuesday afternoon packing more than just their high-priced luggage.
For the Mavericks, the extra baggage they flew to Denver on their private jet was a three-game losing streak. And the Mavericks know that with the way they've been playing lately, it won't be easy breaking it.
The Mavericks (14-11) play at Denver (15-10) at 8 tonight at the Pepsi Center, and at Minnesota on Friday. The Nuggets pounded the Mavericks 115-93 in the second game of the season in Dallas.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves got the Mavericks' year off to a rocky start by drilling Dallas in Minnesota 99-82 on New Year's Day.
And to prove that game wasn't a fluke, the T-Wolves walked into American Airlines Center and drilled the Mavericks again, winning 105-90 on Jan. 25.
"What a way to go on the road and get some confidence against some good teams," guard Jason Terry said. "Denver is playing very well this year, but for us it's [time] to get back on the right track. We haven't beaten Minnesota yet, so they've always played us tough. But the first task at hand is Denver, and as of late they haven't played well, but they have been one of the surprises of the season."
The first time Dallas played Denver, it was the second game of the season for the Mavericks after they lost to the Miami Heat 105-94 on Christmas Day at home.
"That's a long time ago," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We're playing better than we were then. But again, there are no guarantees with anything. Every night you've got to play or you'll get beat."
The Mavericks found that out the hard way when they lost 91-88 on Saturday at Cleveland. The Mavericks had 21 turnovers and the Cavaliers had 17 offensive rebounds.
If that happens in these upcoming two games, the Mavericks will be flying home to face Portland with a five-game losing streak.
"We're working on our process of playing," Carlisle said. "Our defense has got to be a strength. Transition defense against Denver is going to be a big thing. It's going to be a big thing against Minnesota."
Kidd out again
Point guard Jason Kidd will miss his sixth consecutive game tonight as he continues to rehab his strained right calf.
Rick Carlisle reiterated that there's no timetable for Kidd's return.
"He's doing some stuff, but again I'm not going to get into a daily Kidd update," Carlisle said. "We'll let you know when he's going to play."
The Mavericks are 2-3 without Kidd, who suffered his latest injury Jan. 27 against the Utah Jazz. Kidd, who made the trip with the Mavericks, listed himself as day to day.
Nuggets forward Corey Brewer won't play tonight after his father died earlier this week. Brewer won a championship ring with the Mavericks last season before they traded him to Denver on Dec. 13.
The Nuggets will be without forward Danilo Gallinari, who twisted his left ankle in Monday's 99-90 loss to the Houston Rockets. Gallinari had 15 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes when the Nuggets beat the Mavs on Dec. 26.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760