Just a week ago, the Golden State Warriors edged past the Dallas Mavericks without Stephen Curry.
This time, they'll likely need him to avoid their longest skid of the season.
Curry and the Warriors look to snap their three-game losing streak and sweep a season series from the Mavericks for the first time in six years Saturday night.
Golden State (30-20) beat the Mavericks 100-97 on Jan. 31, while Curry was out with a sore ankle. In fact, ankle injuries have sidelined the star guard for three of the past four meetings, and he was terrific in that other matchup.
Curry had 31 points, nine assists and six rebounds in a 105-101 overtime win at Dallas (21-28) on Nov. 19.
Another strong performance could give the Warriors their first season sweep of the Mavericks since taking all three meetings in 2006-07. They followed that by dropping 13 of 18 in the series entering this season.
Golden State squandered a superb performance from Curry on Friday, when he matched his season high with 32 points while adding eight assists, five boards and three steals in a 99-93 loss at Memphis. The Warriors showed improvement in the second half, holding the Grizzlies to 36 points on 38.2 percent shooting.
"We fell a little bit short," Curry said. "It's a frustrating feeling for us losing three in a row. But it is a positive that we can take from this game knowing that we got back to our brand of basketball the last 24 minutes."
The Warriors' three-game slide followed a four-game winning streak, which included the latest victory over Dallas.
The Mavericks have been an inconsistent team since a season-best four-game win streak last month. They've lost five of nine since that run, surrendering an average of 105.1 points to undermine their impressive 105.3 scored per contest.
Dallas will try to build on Wednesday's 105-99 win over Portland, opening this five-game homestand that leads into next week's All-Star break.
"It's an opportunity for us to gain ground in the standings before the All-Star break," said guard O.J. Mayo, who had 28 points on 11 for 14 from the floor against the Trail Blazers.
Although it hasn't helped Dallas win, Mayo has performed very well in two games this season against Golden State. He's totaled 52 points on 19-of-34 shooting, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range.
Vince Carter had 22 points in the latest matchup after being held to nine at home in November. His performance last week is part of an eight-game stretch, during which he's averaged 17.6 points while connecting on 20 of 40 from beyond the arc.
Carter had 17 points Wednesday after an illness forced him to miss Monday's 112-91 loss at Oklahoma City.
"There's a reason he's such an important guy to us," said coach Rick Carlisle, who got his 500th win Wednesday. "All year long, he's been one of our facilitators."
It's unclear if Golden State will have Jarret Jack available. The guard, who averages 12.8 points and a team-leading 5.8 assists, has missed three straight games due to a right shoulder contusion.
Jack has struggled against Dallas this season, totaling 15 points while missing 14 of 18 shots.
The Associated Press News Service
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