Mavs back from break with playoff streak in peril

With or without Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks have virtually the same record this season - a losing one.

If they don't start winning at a pace reminiscent of the three 60-win seasons they've had in the Nowitzki era, the Mavericks are likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since the big German's second year in 2000.

Veteran Vince Carter figures the Mavericks should be careful about watching the standings because "it just drives you crazy."

Dallas entered the All-Star break 4½ games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Mavericks play their first game in a week when Orlando visits Wednesday night.

Nowitzki missed the first 27 games after knee surgery. Dallas (23-29) was 12-15 without him and is 11-14 since his return.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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