The Dallas Mavericks are the hottest team in the NBA and a trip to Sacramento likely won’t cool them off.
Looking to extend their longest winning streak of the season to nine games, the Mavericks try for a seventh consecutive victory over the struggling Kings on Saturday night.
Dallas (15-4) took another step towards solidifying itself as a serious NBA title contender with a 93-81 win at Utah on Friday, ending the Jazz’s seven-game run. The Mavericks, who have not lost since Nov. 19 at home to Chicago, are second in the Western Conference, one game behind San Antonio and one ahead of Utah.
The Mavericks last won nine straight as part of a 13-game run from Feb. 17-March 10.
Dallas has played well defensively, allowing its last five opponents to average 89.4 points on 39.9 percent shooting. The Mavericks gave up their fewest points of the season Friday against a Utah club that averaged 104.6 points during its winning streak.
Dirk Nowitzki(notes) scored 26 points on 12-of-18 shooting against the Jazz, two nights after being held to 10 while going 4 of 11 from the field in a home win over Minnesota. The All-Star forward is averaging 24.9 points this season, and 28.8 in his last four games against Sacramento.
Dallas has averaged 111.8 points on 50.7-percent shooting during a six-game winning streak over the Kings (4-13), who will try to avoid a season-high seventh consecutive loss.
Sacramento couldn’t help but feel embarrassed after Friday’s 113-80 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings, who shot 40.3 percent during their second-lowest scoring game this season, have averaged 83.2 points during their slide.
“(There’s) a lot going on right now, and it’s frustrating,” Evans said after the Kings lost for the 12th time in 13 contests. “We’ve been losing. Nobody in here wants to lose on purpose. We’ve just got to go out there and find a way. It starts with us. The coaches, they coach, but we’re the ones on the floor.”
Evans’ recent struggles have been a big reason for the Kings’ offensive problems of late. The 2009-10 rookie of the year averaged 19.9 points on 44.7-percent shooting his first 10 games, but 12.7 on a paltry 28.9-percent shooting the last six contests.
However, Evans has averaged 22.5 points and made 50.7 percent of his shots in four games against the Mavericks last season.