December 06, 2014

The Dallas Mavericks know that J.J. Barea's astounding play won't last but they hope he can keep it up until Deron Williams comes back.

Barea will likely start at point guard for Williams for the third straight game Monday night when the Mavericks host the lowly Milwaukee Bucks.

Dallas (17-13) has won consecutive games without Williams, who is out with a strained left hamstring. He is listed as day to day but the Mavericks don't want to rush the oft-injured guard back.

"We're gonna make sure that he's ready to come back," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I don't see it long term so we'll see."

Barea has totaled 58 points and 16 assists in his last two games, making 22 of 34 shots. He scored 26 in Saturday's 118-111 win over Chicago.

"He's aggressive," Carlisle said. "He's been stroking it and so, you know, we encourage guys to be aggressive."

Barea is averaging 10.0 points and has only averaged in double digits twice before in his career. The Mavericks know they have caught lightning in a bottle but aren't complaining.

"We can't live off of this long term but right now, with D-Will missing some games, we need some guys to step up," Carlisle said. "J.J. has stepped up."

Another player who has stepped up is center Zaza Pachulia, who posted his 16th double-double with 17 points and 12 boards Saturday. Pachulia had 15 double-doubles last season with the Bucks in his second stint with the club before he was traded to Dallas in July.

Milwaukee (12-19) was routed 111-90 by Toronto at home Saturday. Khris Middleton scored 20 and Greg Monroe had 19 and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who were outscored 35-11 in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks don't play at a fast pace, averaging 95.9 possessions per 48 minutes. They average 19.3 points off turnovers for one of the NBA's better marks and can be dangerous as the only team to defeat Golden State.

"Tomorrow is another difficult game against a team that doesn't have a great record but they're the kind of team that gives us a lot of problems," Carlisle said. "High energy, great athleticism, an attacking style so we're going to have to be disciplined, we're going to have to be very smart playing Milwaukee."

The Bucks start a four-game trip having lost 12 of 13 on the road. They won consecutive games - albeit versus Phoenix and Philadelphia - prior to Saturday.

"It's a tough road trip but we're ready for it," Middleton said. "We've been playing better so we've got to go out there and try and take a couple games on the road."

Monroe has seven of his 15 double-doubles in his last 10 games. His 9.8 elbow touches per game places him third in the league while John Henson ranks among the NBA's leaders with an average of 5.4 paint touches.

The Mavs have won five straight over the Bucks, getting 28 points from Chandler Parsons in a 125-102 rout the last time they met Dec. 7, 2014.

Henson missed both meetings last season with a sprained left foot.

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