Game 65: Mavs vs. Suns

Highlights: Mavs vs. Suns

Check out all the top plays from Saturday night's game against the Suns.

Game 64: Mavs vs. Nets

Highlights: Mavs vs. Nets

Check out all the top plays from Friday night's 105-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Mavs’ J.J. Barea hopes to provide spark in his return to lineup Friday against Brooklyn

DALLAS — After playing the last 18 games without veteran guard J.J. Barea in the lineup due to a left calf strain, the Dallas Mavericks hope to receive a spark from the return of the cat-quick floor general Friday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

Looking to move to 4-0 on their current five-game homestand and beginning a rare home-home back-to-back that concludes Saturday night against Phoenix, the Mavericks (27-36) will gladly welcome back Barea following his lengthy layoff. The Mavs also hope the undersized guard can once again contribute in the second unit, looking for Barea to make up for lost time against the Nets (11-52) in front of the hometown fans. And although Barea is expected to be under a heavy minute restriction after battling back from his season-long calf issues, he vows to make an immediate impact with energetic play.

“I’m excited to be back,” Barea said after going through the Mavericks’ Thursday practice. “The team is playing great right now. We’ve got a good thing going here in practice and in the locker room, so I’m just happy to be back. There’s some exciting basketball in this town, and I just want to help the team out. Just come in with a lot of energy and try to give them a little extra.”

On the season, the 32-year-old Barea is averaging 12.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists, appearing in just 18 games during his 11th professional campaign. He’s also shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from three-point range during his limited time on the court, hoping to find a rhythm Friday in his return. But while trying to finish the season strong after a previous injury to the same calf forced him to miss 24 of 26 games from Nov. 18 to Jan. 5, Barea says he’s simply hoping to help the Mavericks make a playoff push during the final 19 outings.

“I feel really good,” Barea proclaimed. “We were more patient this time. There was a lot of extra stuff, so hopefully I’m able to start tomorrow and then finish the year strong.

“We’re moving the ball better, and we’re playing a little faster. We’re playing with more energy, so I think it’s a good fit for me. I’ll be ready. You know, go out there and give the bench a little bit more energy.”

Clocking 24.7 minutes an outing during his time on the court this season, Barea now figures to be placed on a strict minute restriction in his return. Still, according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, the veteran guard is expected to be available for each of the next two games as the Mavericks try to complete an unbeaten homestand.

Carlisle also expects Barea to see time in both halves Friday night. But with his team eager to welcome Barea back into the fold, Carlisle knows the Mavs will have to monitor the speedy veteran’s minutes very closely.

“You know, he’s worked hard. This is the third time he’s gone through this, and we’ve obviously been cautious. We feel now is the right time, so he’ll play tomorrow,” Carlisle said of Barea’s pending return.

He added: “We’re going to have a minute limit to start with, and we’ll work from there. I don’t anticipate a thing where he’s going to play one half tomorrow or any of that stuff. I think the plan is to play him both halves, and then shut him down and get him ready for the next night, if all goes well.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Friday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets. The game will tip off at 8 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

There’s no injuries to report at this time.

For Dirk Nowitzki, reaching 30K career points in front of Mavs fans was ‘perfect’

DALLAS — Becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to reach the 30,000-point plateau in front of the fans that have cheered him on for 19 seasons, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki says the milestone couldn’t have come in a more fitting moment.

Entering Tuesday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers needing just 20 points to reach the 30,000-point mark for his career, Nowitzki staged a vintage performance in the first half with 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting. In the process, Nowitzki joined an exclusive fraternity that had featured only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. The 7-footer also became just the third player to ever amass 30,000 points with one franchise, matching Malone’s accomplishment with Utah and Bryant’s feat with the Lakers. But after being greeted with a standing ovation following his patented turnaround jumper over Lakers big man Larry Nance Jr. at the 10:58 mark of the second quarter to reach the milestone, Nowitzki says he was elated to share the historic moment with the Dallas fans.

“It was almost like it was planned,” Nowitzki said after moving 1,414 points behind Chamberlain (31,419) for the sixth spot on the league’s all-time scoring list. “With all of the eight-point games I’ve been having after (the All-Star break), it kind of set it up well for this to happen at home and during this homestand. I’m happy that it worked out this way.

“It’s been sort of surreal,” he modestly added after eclipsing the milestone during Tuesday’s 122-111 win with his highest-scoring half since January 11, 2014. “I mean, 30,000 is amazing. It’s a lot of points. Every milestone makes you reflect a little bit and reflect on the people that have helped you and been with you all this way. From all the coaches, to [Mavs owner Mark Cuban] and all the teammates I’ve had, and the fans who went with me through thick and thin. So, it’s been an amazing ride. Hopefully a couple of more baskets are coming, and then it’s time to ride into the sunset.”

The milestone was just Nowitzki’s latest accolade in a Dallas uniform, adding to his future Hall of Fame resume. But after passing Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) and moving up to the No. 6 spot on the all-time scoring list in Brooklyn during a 119-118 overtime victory on December 23, 2015, Nowitzki admits that reaching his latest milestone in front of the hometown crowd was even more rewarding.

Already the top foreign-born scorer of all-time, Nowitzki became the sixth player in league history to eclipse the 29,000-point plateau with a three-pointer against Philadelphia at home on February 21, 2016. Nowitzki has now joined Bryant, John Stockton and Tim Duncan as the only players in league history that have spent their entire careers with one franchise and played 19-plus seasons. At the end of his current contract, which ends at the conclusion of next season, Nowitzki will have played 20 seasons with the Mavericks (27-36) to join Bryant as the sole members of the NBA’s 20-year, only one-team club. But with the Mavs now just two games behind the Denver Nuggets in the race for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff position, Nowitzki says his sole focus remains on trying to lead his team back to the postseason.

“I’m happy we’re winning games. That’s the No. 1 thing for me right now. We’re still trying to make this playoff push and we’re playing well, so the main thing is we won the game and it happened early,” Nowitzki said after the Mavericks ran their winning streak to three while he reached the milestone. “Leading up to it, it hasn’t been a lot of great scoring nights. It was a couple of off-shooting nights, and it’s been a little slow there. But this was perfect. Everything was kind of planned out perfect, so I’m happy it worked out that way.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Friday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets. The game will tip off at 8 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Game 63: Mavs vs. Lakers

Mavericks Celebrate Dirk’s Milestone

Mavericks fans and teammates surround Dirk Nowitzki as they celebrate him reaching 30,000 points for his career.

Game 62: Mavs vs. Thunder

Highlights: Mavs vs. Thunder

Check out all the top plays from Sunday night's 104-89 win over the Thunder!

Game 61: Mavs vs. Grizzlies

Highlights: Mavs vs. Grizzlies

Nerlens Noel records his best game as a Maverick with 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Seth Curry adds 24 points in the Mavericks win over Memphis.