Sustainable success have been fleeting for the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks, both of whom find themselves at the bottom of their respective conferences. A pair of cellar-dwellers coming off road losses in the first half of a back-to-back hope for better fortune Saturday when the Mavericks visit the league-worst Hawks.
Marco Belinelli exploded for 27 points Friday - his highest-scoring performance in nearly two years - but Atlanta surrendered a 3-pointer to Russell Westbrook with 1.7 seconds left to drop a 120-117 decision to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The defeat wasted a rally from a 16-point first-half deficit by the Hawks, who have yet to win consecutive games and are 2-7 against Western Conference opponents this season. Dallas has managed two two-game winning streaks but missed out on a third after falling 113-101 to the Miami Heat on Friday. The Mavericks allowed the Heat to score the first 12 points of each half and shoot 64 percent overall.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, KTXA (Dallas), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (9-24): Devin Harris, who is doubtful for Saturday, was only able to log eight minutes Friday before leaving the game for good with an illness, opening the door for Yogi Ferrell to go 9-for-13 from the field - including a season-high five 3-pointers - en route to a season-high 23 points. Dirk Nowitzki set season highs Friday in minutes (32), points (20), made 3-pointers (six) and 3-point attempts (15). Harrison Barnes was the only other Maverick to reach double figures against the Heat with 20 points; the 25-year-old shooting forward has hit the 20-point mark in three straight outings and been limited to fewer than 10 points only twice this season.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (7-25): The Hawks nearly won Friday despite the absence of point guard Dennis Schroder (team-leading averages of 19.4 points and 6.7 assists), who sat out with a left ankle injury. Belinelli took advantage of his first start of the season by going 10-of-18 from the field - including 5-of-10 beyond the arc - while doubling his previous best point total of the month. Taurean Prince extended his streak of hitting at least one 3-pointer to a career-best 14 games and Ersan Ilyasova went 4-for-5 from long-range as Atlanta shot 15-for-32 beyond the arc Friday - the 19th time the Hawks buried at least 10 3-pointers and the 14th time they converted at least 40 percent of their tries.
1. Atlanta rookie F John Collins, who ranks fourth in the league in field-goal percentage (61.7), is averaging 17 points and nine rebounds over his last two contests.
2. Dallas’ 22 rebounds Friday were the fewest by an NBA team this season.
3. Belinelli hit both of his foul shots against Miami to extend his streak of consecutive free throws to 28.
PREDICTION: Hawks 107, Mavericks 98