--G Jason Kidd said coach Rick Carlisle advised him to take Friday's game off even though it was an important one against the Denver Nuggets and one the Mavs ended up losing by two points in the waning moments.
Kidd defended missing his first game of the season by saying it's more important to be healthy for the playoffs than missing one game, despite its perceived importance as the Mavs try to evacuate the eighth spot.
"Look around the West, teams are trying to get healthy," Kidd said. "Some guys aren't playing. Then look at a team like Boston and you hear their coach say (they'd) rather be healthy than have home-court advantage. We'll lace 'em up and go anywhere. We feel confident we can win."
Kidd returned to the lineup Sunday in Cleveland and, with Josh Howard still injured, was charged with guarding LeBron James. That went OK for the first half when James chose to distribute.
But, by the end of the third quarter James had a double-double with 24 points and 12 assists, doubling Kidd's assist total to that point. Kidd finished with typical numbers, nine points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
--C Ryan Hollins seemed like the throw-in piece when the Mavs traded DeSagana Diop to Charlotte for shooter Matt Carroll and the 7-foot Hollins.
But, it's the lanky Hollins who's grabbing playing time, and in bigger chunks. He had a key block against Indiana's Danny Granger late in the game for a big recent road win and he had a terrific game as an energizer at both ends in a narrow loss against Denver on Friday.
He was off the bench again quickly at Cleveland. He grabbed eight rebounds in his first 15 minutes.
"If I'm not playing hard, something's wrong," Hollins said. "I'm going to give you everything I got. Since I was taught to play basketball, I only knew one speed."
But, the Mavs got blown out so quickly in the third quarter that Hollins wasn't of much use the rest of the way.
--F Josh Howard could be close to returning from a left ankle injury with Tuesday's game at Minnesota being the target.
The Mavs will take any help they can get riding a two-game losing streak and still not having secured the eighth seed from Phoenix, which is three games back with a game still to come in Dallas.
Howard hasn't played since March 5 and has played in just 45 games this season due mostly to ankle issues.
--F Josh Howard (left ankle) is probable for Tuesday's game at Minnesota.
--G-F Jerry Stackhouse (right heel) is doubtful for Tuesday's game at Minnesota.
--G/F Devean George (right knee) is out for the rest of the season.