The Dallas Mavericks followed a strong outing in their first game after the All-Star break with one of their worst offensive performances of the season.
A home game against the woeful Sacramento Kings should help them get back on track.
On Saturday evening, the Mavericks look to win their 11th straight home game over the Kings, who will likely have several players making their debut with the team.
The seventh-place team in the Western Conference, Dallas (32-22) is in the thick of a tight playoff race - two games back of fourth-place Portland but only one-half game ahead of eighth-place Utah.
The Mavericks looked impressive in Wednesday’s 113-98 home win over New Jersey, shooting 54.5 percent from the floor - including 10 of 14 from 3-point range - but made just 39.5 percent of their shots in a 93-86 loss at Houston on Friday.
Eight-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki personified Dallas’ shooting woes, finishing with nine points on 4-of-18 shooting after averaging 31.3 points in his previous four games.
“You only get Dirk shooting like that once a year,” Dallas forward Brandon Bass said. “Now it is out of his system.”
The Mavericks dropped to 0-6 when scoring fewer than 90 points, but don’t figure to have as much trouble putting up points against a Sacramento team that is 29th in the league in scoring defense (108.8).
The Mavericks, who have won two of three games against Sacramento this season, are averaging 116.2 points and shooting 52.4 percent during their 10-game home winning streak over the Kings. Only Portland, which has lost 11 in a row in Dallas, has a longer current losing streak at American Airlines Center.
This Sacramento team, though, will have a different look.
Because of the trades, Sacramento only had eight players available at Memphis on Friday. That proved to be enough, as seven Kings scored in double figures in a 115-106 victory to snap a six-game losing streak.
“We had to stick together, and everyone, I think, gave it 110 percent - not just for 24 minutes or 36 minutes, but for 48 minutes,” said center Spencer Hawes, who had 11 points.
“We’re a lot of hungry, competitive guys. (Coasting) hasn’t been our mind-set. Even when we’ve been losing, we’ve been battling. We look at it as an opportunity, rather than like some other teams that just want to limp to the finish line.”
Kevin Martin scored 33 points Friday after finishing with 32 and a season-high 11 rebounds in Wednesday’s 105-100 loss to Atlanta. He had 18 points but shot just 4-for-15 from the field against the Mavericks last week.
The Kings snapped a nine-game road losing streak Friday, improving their poor record away from Sacramento to 4-26.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, have won 11 of 13 at American Airlines Center since Dec. 23.