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Two teams trying desperately to keep up in the Western Conference playoff race collide Monday night, when the struggling Utah Jazz play slumping Dallas at EnergySolutions Arena.
Tip-off is 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Root Sports and aired on the Jazz radio network, which includes 1280-AM, 1600-AM and 97.5 FM in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz are 17-18 after a lopsided 110-91 loss at Denver on Saturday night. It was Utah’s eighth defeat in the last 12 games.
The Mavericks, however, have struggled even more. They are 13-21 and tied with Sacramento for 12th in the 15-team Western Conference.
Dallas has dropped 11 of its last 13 games, including a 99-96 overtime loss to New Orleans, also last Saturday night.
The Mavs hope the return of All-Star Dirk Nowitzki from preseason knee surgery helps get them back on track.
This will be Nowitzki’s eighth game of the season but only his second start.
“He’s a special player,” Utah’s Gordon Hayward said. “We have to keep an eye on him. He’s one of those bigs that can stretch the court. It will be on all of us to make sure we know where he’s at.”
Like Hayward, Jazz forward Marvin Williams likely will get a shot at guarding Nowitzki.
Williams has played three games since missing a 105-104 loss to the L.A. Clippers on Dec. 30 because of a sore knee. He has averaged eight points on 8-for-23 shooting as the Jazz defeated Minnesota (106-84) and Phoenix (87-80) but lost at Denver.
“I’m starting to get better,” Williams said. “The biggest thing for me right now is trying to be healthy. Once I get healthy, I feel like I’ll be more consistent. I’ve been really, really up-and-down. ... But once I get my body healthy from these nagging injuries, I’ll be able to help more.”