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- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has another chance to win his 500th career game tonight and become the 28th coach to reach that milestone. He is 499-353 (.586) overall and 218-142 (.606) since joining Dallas in 2008 after two seasons with Detroit (2001-03) and four with Indiana (2004-07). “It’s day to day and I don’t keep track of any of that stuff,” he said. “If you do, you’re getting distracted from your job. And this year is no time to get distracted.”
- Vince Carter is expected to play tonight for Dallas after sitting out Monday’s loss at Oklahoma City with an illness. The veteran swingman is averaging 12.7 points and 3.9 rebounds this season.
- For the Trail Blazers, guard Ronnie Price (right ankle), forward Sasha Pavlovic (left foot) and guard Elliot Williams (left Achilles) are unavailable tonight. Starting forward Nicolas Batum says he will continue to play despite pain in his right wrist. He has averaged 7.8 points in his last five games, 7.9 below his season average.
- Portland All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge always seems to play well against his hometown team. The pride of Seagoville High School has averaged 27.3 points in eight games against Dallas since 2010-11, his highest against any Western Conference opponent. “For most players in the NBA, when you come back to your home city, you like playing against that team that you grew up watching,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
- Six of the last eight meetings between Portland and Dallas have been decided by three or fewer points. The Mavericks have taken four of the last five meetings at the American Airlines Center, including a 114-91 win on Nov. 5.
– Dave Ivey