OAKLAND -- Not content with their work since returning to the Bay Area two weeks ago, the Warriors restart their search for consistency Saturday afternoon when they face the Dallas Mavericks at Oracle Arena.
Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4:00 p.m. with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Upon returning from a swing through the Eastern Conference, during which they went 3-2, the defending champs came home Dec. 8 feeling confident they were ready to reel off a string of victories.
In the five games since, they are . . . 3-2, including a blowout home loss to Toronto. That has dropped the Warriors (21-11) into third place in the Western Conference as they open this four-game homestand.
The Mavericks (15-15) were not expected to be in the playoff race but made themselves relevant by winning 12 of 15 after a 3-8 start to the season. They are reeling again, having lost four in a row, the last three by single digits.
Another reason why Dallas matters is rookie guard/forward Luke Doncic, who along with veteran center DeAndre Jordan, have been the team’s most effective players. Doncic, only 19, has been spectacular and is battling Suns center Deandre Ayton for Rookie of the Year honors.
F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C Kevon Looney
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry
F Wesley Matthews
F Harrison Barnes
C DeAndre Jordan
G Jaylen Brunson
G Luka Doncic
Warriors: C DeMarcus Cousins (L Achilles’ tendon rehab) and C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) are out.
Mavericks: F Maxi Kleber (L big toe sprain) and F Dirk Nowitzki (L ankle soreness) are listed as probable. G/F Ryan Broekhoff (illness) and G Wesley Matthews (R foot soreness) are questionable. G Dennis Smith Jr. (R wrist sprain) is listed as doubtful.
Warriors: Thompson continues to struggle with his shot. He was 3-of-12 Wednesday at Utah and is shooting 38.2 percent (including 28.1 percent from deep) over his last five games. Because of his value on defense, his minutes have not been affected. ... Draymond Green spent considerable practice time this week working on his 3-point shot. In five games since returning from a toe injury, he is 1-of-10 from deep and his shooting 18.9 percent this season. ... Keep an eye on ball movement and player activity, as the usual lofty assist totals are down. Thirty assists per game is their measurement of success, but they’ve failed to reach 30 in 17 of their last 20 games. ... They would welcome a comeback game from their bench, which was outscored 39-17 in the five-point loss at Utah.
Mavericks: Doncic is coming off a career-high, 32-point scoring performance on Thursday against the Clippers in Los Angeles. He leads all NBA rookies in scoring, is second in assists and third in rebounds. ... Coach Rick Carlisle adjusted to the absence of Dennis Smith over the last three games by moving Doncic to PG, Matthews from SG to SF and inserting Brunson into the starting lineup. ... Among the keys for the Warriors is keeping Jordan, the league’s No. 2 rebounder at 14.1 per game, off the glass. ... Former Warrior Harrison Barnes is shooting 42.2 percent from deep. ... Dirk Nowitzki missed the first 26 games after off-season ankle surgery and has not played more than eight minutes since returning on Dec. 13. ... They excel in drawing fouls, shooting at least 30 free throws in five consecutive games. ... The bench has scored more than 60 points twice this season. ... The Mavs are tied with the Hawks for the league lead in technical fouls with 34.