Daily Confidential

A season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs sent the Dallas Mavericks on an early-season skid. The now surging Mavericks look to avoid a repeat when they face the Spurs at the AT&T Center on Friday.

Dallas (7-4) has won seven straight since opening the season with four consecutive losses, including the 97-91 loss to the Spurs (10-2) on Nov. 2.

``I think we were just trying to find ourselves a bit,'' reserve Austin Croshere said of the team's problems to start the season. ``Early, we were waiting for things to happen, and now we're making things happen. We've definitely been the aggressors the last seven games.''

This is the longest winning streak for Dallas since a 13-game run from Jan. 14-Feb. 9.

The Mavericks routed the Washington Wizards 107-80 on Tuesday. Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points while Jason Terry and Devin Harris each added 18, helping Dallas break open a game that was tied at halftime.

Terry went 4-for-9 from 3-point range, while Greg Bucknerand Croshere were a combined 6 of 11 from beyond the arc.

''(Assistant coach) Joe Prunty was laughing because we shot better from the 3 than we did from the 2,'' coach Avery Johnson said. ``We know that will not work all season, but we had a stretch where we made quite a few of them.''

The Mavericks have kept on winning despite being held under 40 percent shooting from the field in the last two games.

Poor shooting helped cost them a win against the Spurs in the opener. Dallas shot 43.2 percent that night, including several key misses during a 6:13 scoreless stretch in the fourth quarter.

Spurs guard Tony Parker expects to see a better effort out of Dallas this time around.

``It's going to be a great game because they are going to be motivated after what happened the first game of the season,'' Parker said. ``They are ... playing a little bit better than early in the season, so it's going to be a good test for us.''

Parker had 17 points in San Antonio's 106-86 blowout of the Miami Heat on Wednesday. Tim Duncan led the team with 19 points and Manu Ginobili added 17.

The Spurs led 57-38 by halftime against a Heat team playing without Shaquille O'Neal. San Antonio took advantage, outrebounding the Heat 43-34 on the night.

``A win is a win,'' Parker said. ``Obviously Miami is not the same team without Shaq, but we still have to play and I thought tonight was a great win for the whole team.''

The Spurs, who begin a three-game road trip after Friday's game, are undefeated on the road, but 4-2 at home this season.

San Antonio and Dallas met in last season's Western conference semifinals, with the Mavericks eliminating the Spurs in seven games.

``It's not the same as the playoffs last season,'' Ginobili said. ``The only thing that will make us forget is to have a great season and play them again.''

The Texas rivals split four regular-season meetings in 2005-06, but San Antonio has won seven of the last 10.

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