The Hawks will look to continue that home success Friday night when they try to end the Mavericks’ season high-tying five-game win streak.
Atlanta (36-20) improved to 18-8 against West foes with a 98-92 home win over Minnesota on Wednesday. That number includes a 10-1 mark at Philips Arena and 6-2 record against Southwest Division foes, with one of the victories being an 80-75 win at Dallas on Dec. 5.
The Mavericks (37-21) finished with their worst home shooting percentage of the season at 37.3 in that game, and the Hawks are now seeking their first sweep of the Mavericks in six seasons.
“Atlanta is a tough team,” All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki(notes) said. “They beat us here last time. So we’ll see what happens. They’re very athletic, they really gave us trouble with their athleticism the last time.”
The Mavericks, though, feel they are better equipped to handle Atlanta’s athleticism after acquiring Caron Butler(notes), Brendan Haywood(notes) and DeShawn Stevenson(notes) from Washington during the All-Star break. Dallas has held opponents to 43.6 percent shooting in seven games since the trade after allowing teams to shoot 52.9 percent in the previous eight contests.
“We’ve been playing pretty good defense with the new guys,” guard Jason Kidd(notes) said. “This was another example where our shots weren’t going down, but we relied on our defense and got some stops.”
Butler missed the game due to a negative reaction to medication. It is unclear when he will return.
“I am really proud of the guys how they battled without Caron,” said Nowitzki, who scored 31. “Hopefully, we can get him back soon.”
Nowitzki led Dallas with 32 points in the December loss to Atlanta, which got 31 from Joe Johnson(notes). Jason Terry(notes) shot 5 of 16 and had 17 points, but is coming off a 30-point performance against the Lakers.
The Hawks got a big game from Josh Smith(notes) on Wednesday in their sixth home win in seven tries. Smith, who has drawn the defensive assignment on Nowitzki in the past, had 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
“He was all over the place,” coach Mike Woodson said. “He blocked some shots. He scored for us, made some free throws. He was solid from beginning to end, and we’re going to need him the rest of the way.”
The Hawks looked lethargic at times in their first home game after a four-game trip. Jamal Crawford(notes) did not have a basket for the first time, missing all seven shots, but Smith picked up the slack.
“I felt like my team needed energy, so I was trying to score in a lot of different ways,” Smith said.
Haywood played well in two games against the Hawks with Washington this season. He averaged 16.0 points and 9.5 boards while matching up with center Al Horford(notes), who averaged 8.5 points - 5.3 below his season average - and 11.0 rebounds in those games.