National Basketball Association
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                    === Mavericks welcome Kings to Big D ===
 
 (Sports  Network) - The Dallas Mavericks have won three of their last five and
 will  try  to head into the  All-Star break on a  high note when they host the
 Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
 
 The  Mavs  lost the last  time out,  a 105-101 setback  at home to the Atlanta
 Hawks.
 
 "We've  just  got to learn from  these things and get better," Mavericks coach
 Rick  Carlisle  said. "We  have  gotten  better,  but  we haven't  broken  the
 threshold that's gonna make us a team that can really become a dangerous team.
 I  think  we're a  dangerous team,  I think we  can beat  anybody on any given
 night, but the consistency has got to be better."
 
 The  Hawks broke out to a 10-0 lead to start the game and Dallas committed six
 turnovers in the first quarter.
 
 "The  game  was lost in  the first  three minutes," acknowledged Carlisle. "We
 were  down 10-nothing. We weren't ready to play. If you want it simple, that's
 simple.  And it's  on me. I didn't have  our guys ready to play, so I'm taking
 all  the responsibility for this. You've got a team of guys that just goes out
 there  kind  of walking  around at  the beginning  of the  game. That's on the
 coach."
 
 Dirk  Nowitzki led the  way with 24 points against the Hawks. O.J. Mayo had 19
 and  Darren Collison,  Vince  Carter,  Brandan Wright  and  Shawn Marion  also
 reached double digits.
 
 The  Mavericks  are five games  out of the eighth  playoff spot in the Western
 Conference,  currently held by the Houston Rockets. They play three of four at
 home after the All-Star break.
 
 The  Kings saw  their  two-game winning  streak snapped  on  Tuesday night  in
 Memphis.  The Grizzlies won, 108-101, but the game was tight and Sacramento is
 showing signs of improvement.
 
 "These young men deserved to win this basketball game," head coach Keith Smart
 said.  "I thought these guys did everything they could to put us in a position
 to win it."
 
 DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 23 points and seven rebounds. Tyreke Evans
 had 20 points and seven boards as well, but went 0-4 from the foul line. Jason
 Thompson, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks all scored in double
 digits.
 
 The  Kings have had no problem scoring the basketball in the last three games.
 They  are averaging 112.7 ppg during that span, but defensively, Sacramento is
 giving up 109.3 ppg.
 
 Sacramento  will  host the San  Antonio Spurs the  first game after the break,
 then swing through the south for five straight on the road.
 
 The  Mavericks are 21-3  over the Kings in their last 24 and Sacramento hasn't
 won a regular-season game in Dallas since Feb. 27, 2003.
 
 02/13 10:52:54 ET