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Friday, March 9 (All times eastern)

Dallas Mavericks (23-18) at Sacramento Kings (13-26), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks resume a tough three games in three nights stretch Friday night in Sacramento against the Kings.

The Mavs, who will finish the back-to-back-to-back in Oakland on Saturday, dropped the first one in Phoenix on Thursday, a tough 96-94 setback to the Suns.

Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter had 18 points apiece to pace the Mavericks, who had won their previous eight against Phoenix. Dallas scored seven straight to close the game, but Rodrigue Beaubois missed two potential tying shots in the final seconds.

"This was just a mental breakdown by our team," said Carter. "It's unfortunate, we played really well enough to control the game and to finish the game and we just couldn't get it done."

The Mavs have now lost five straight on the road and are 8-10 overall as the visitor but the club has won 10 straight against Sacramento. Dallas hasn't dropped six straight on the road since an eight-game hiccup from Nov. 7-30, 1999.

The Kings, on the other hand, were on the positive side of a thriller in their last outing, a 99-98 win over New Orleans on Wednesday. John Salmons' layup in the closing seconds lifted Sacramento in that one.

Salmons finished with 12 points, while Marcus Thornton had a team-high 25 and Tyreke Evans contributed 13 for the Kings, who kicked off a franchise record nine-game homestand by snapping a four-game losing streak.

"We want to win them all if we can. It was a great way to start it," Kings guard Jimmer Fredette said of the homestand. "Now we have to focus on the next one."

On the injury front, Kings emerging second-year center DeMarcus Cousins missed Wednesday's contest with food poisoning but is expected back in the lineup on Friday. Dallas will likely be without its pivot, Brendan Haywood, for a third straight game due to a sprained left ankle, while forward Brandan Wright (concussion) and guard Delonte West (dislocated right ring finger) remain sidelined.

Sacramento, which is 9-6 at Power Balance Pavilion, will also face Atlanta, Golden State, Detroit, Boston, Minnesota, Memphis and Utah on its long residency.

03/09 10:47:11 ET


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