With an emotional home game against public enemy No. 1 DeAndre Jordan behind them, the Dallas Mavericks want to be able to look back and call it a springboard victory.
They could take a first step toward that goal against the woeful Los Angeles Lakers.
The Mavericks will try to extend their longest winning streak in the series to nine Friday night when the visiting Lakers should have Kobe Bryant back as they look to avoid a second straight 1-8 start.
Dallas thrived in a charged atmosphere against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday when Jordan visited for the first time since reneging on a verbal deal with the Mavericks in July.
Dirk Nowitzki finished with a season-high 31 points, hit 5 of 6 from 3-point range and pulled down 11 rebounds, while Wesley Matthews scored 25 in the 118-108 victory.
"It was a lot of hype in the air, as expected, and it was a fun game against a great, deep team," Nowitzki told the team's official website. "It was just going back and forth. And then there in the fourth, it was almost a playoff atmosphere."
Dallas bounced back from a 120-105 loss to previously winless New Orleans a night earlier. Now it's hoping to gain some momentum from a win over one of the Western Conference's top clubs.
The Mavericks seek a third straight home victory after shooting a season-high 55.3 percent and making 11 of 24 from 3-point range against the Clippers. They've won eight straight overall versus the Lakers, including the last four at American Airlines Center by an average of 17.5 points.
"We can't get it all on the offensive end," Matthews said. "We've got to focus on the defensive end."
The Lakers have shown improvement on the defensive end, allowing 99.8 points per game in the first four of this five-game trip after giving up 116.8 during an 0-4 start. Still, they're on the verge of dropping eight of their first nine for the second straight season after Nikola Vucevic hit a 20-footer at the buzzer in Orlando's 101-99 victory on Wednesday.
Roy Hibbert paced Los Angeles with 15 points after scoring two in a 101-88 loss at Miami a night earlier. Rookie D'Angelo Russell added 14 after he totaled 10 over his previous two games.
Bryant, who has averaged 15.0 points on 31.5 percent shooting over his last five games, is expected to return after missing the past two with a back injury. He's only been able to play in two of the last eight matchups with Dallas, totaling 32 points on 9-of-37 shooting.
The 37-year-old Bryant scored 15 on just 3-of-15 shooting in the first meeting Nov. 1 when Dallas opened the game with a 15-0 run en route to a 103-93 victory at Staples Center.
Nowitzki led the way with 25 points and nine rebounds and Zaza Pachulia contributed 16 and 12 as the Mavericks (4-4) outrebounded Los Angeles 49-42. That could be a key again since the Lakers rank last in the NBA with a minus-7.0 rebounding margin.
"Teams are killing us on the offensive glass," Los Angeles coach Byron Scott said. "Our guys have just got to do a much better job of finishing plays.''
Dallas forward Chandler Parsons is expected to play after resting Wednesday as he continues to work his way back from offseason knee surgery.