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Gameday: Warriors big favorites to end slump with Mavs in town

OAKLAND -- Conditions are favorable for the Warriors to snap out of their slump Thursday night when they face the downtrodden Dallas Mavericks at Oracle Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

The Warriors (41-13) have fallen short in three of their last four games, with the losses by an average of 19 points. The defense has been indifferent and the offense sloppy, with turnovers coming in bunches.

The Mavericks (17-37) are tied with the Hawks for the worst record in the NBA. They’ve lost six of their last seven, with the lone victory coming last Saturday at woeful Sacramento.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 14

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Stephen Curry vs. Dennis Smith Jr.: In the wake of the loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, Curry sounded like a man rededicating himself to the mission. A fully focused Curry is difficult to contain. Smith is that rare rookie who is needed only a few months to make a bid to become a team leader. The athletic rookie is the Mavs’ No. 2 scorer (14.6 ppg) and embraces the big moment. Expect him to go at Curry.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Draymond Green (dental work), G Shaun Livingston (L elbow sorenss) and F/C David West (R calf tension) are listed as probable. F/C Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Mavericks: F Johnathan Motley (L ankle sprain) is listed as questionable. F Harrison Barnes (L ankle sprain), G Seth Curry (L tibia stress reaction), C/F Nerlens Noel (L thumb surgery) and G Dorian Finney-Smith (L knee quadriceps tendinitis) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 6-4.

Mavericks: 2-8.

GAME OFFICIALS

Sean Wright (crew chief), Brent Barnaky, Tre Maddox

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three previous meetings this season, by a combined 48 points, and swept three meetings last season. They are 13-1 against the Mavericks since Steve Kerr became coach in 2014-15.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE GIFTS: If there is one area in which the Warriors absolutely must improve to regain their mojo, it’s turnovers. They’ve committed 79 over the past four games, leading to 90 points. They committed 46 in three previous games against Dallas, giving the Mavericks 50 points. They’ve acknowledged and addressed the issue but thus far been unable to improve.

THE FIRST QUARTER: The Warriors have made a habit of starting slowly, taking first-quarters leads only seven times in the last 21 games. The intensity level has more often than not insufficient. When they’re on, they come out aggressive and productive. When they’re not on, it shows. It won’t take long to see had eager the Warriors are to snap out of this trend.

THE D: As wobbly as the offense has been at times, the defense has been appreciably worse. The Warriors held opponent under 100 points 12 times in their first 34 games but only once in the last 20. Players are resorting to uttering such lines as “look ourselves in the mirror” and “hold ourselves accountable.” Will that translate to better defense?