(AP) — Fatigue may be a concern for the Dallas Mavericks, who will play three games in the next four nights.
The slumping Houston Rockets have even bigger worries.
The Mavericks will try to avoid losing their third straight while the Rockets look to stop a four-game skid as the two playoff hopefuls face off Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.
With four games remaining, Dallas (34-28) is in seventh place in the Western Conference – 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston and Phoenix, which are tied for eighth, and two games up on 10th-place Utah.
The Mavericks have a tough final stretch of games, with three opponents in playoff contention – including road games against Chicago and Atlanta. However, they have won six in a row over the Rockets, including both meetings this season.
Dallas has made things a little harder on itself with back-to-back losses beyond regulation to the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah.
The Mavericks came back from a late 10-point deficit in regulation Monday against the Jazz, but fell 123-121 in triple overtime. Dirk Nowitzki scored 40 points, but none in the third overtime, missing three shots.
“The good thing about the overtimes is we knew they were going to kind of run out of gas,” Utah’s Al Jefferson said. “They are an older team, they played (Sunday). So we knew the shots were going to start falling a little short. I am surprised they lasted as long as they did.”
The Mavericks came up short Monday after fading Sunday against the Lakers, shooting 38.5 percent in the fourth quarter and overtime of a 112-108 defeat. Dallas has lost three overtime games this month by a combined eight points.