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Friday, February 29th (All times eastern)

Sacramento Kings (26-31) at Dallas Mavericks (38-20), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Dallas Mavericks hope for a quick bounce-back when they take the court against the visiting Sacramento Kings tonight at the American Airlines Center.

Dallas missed out on a chance to gain ground on first-place San Antonio in the Southwest Division standings after dropping a 97-94 decision to the Spurs Thursday at the AT&T Center.

After Tim Duncan snapped a 94-94 deadlock when the San Antonio star sank two free throws with 34.5 seconds left, the Mavs misfired on three shot attempts in the closing seconds and had a three-game win streak snapped.

Dirk Nowitzki topped Dallas with 28 points, while Josh Howard and Brandon Bass each netted 16 in defeat.

The loss pushed the Mavericks two games behind the Spurs and one back of second-place New Orleans in the tightly-bunched Southwest. Dallas also leads hard-charging Houston by only a half-game for the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

A return to the American Airlines Center could help the Mavs get back on the winning track. Dallas has ripped off 11 straight victories in its own building and owns a sensational 24-3 mark as the host this season.

The Mavericks have not lost at home since an 88-81 defeat to Cleveland on December 27.

Sacramento will be closing out a five-game road trip tonight. After opening the trek with an overtime win at Charlotte last Friday, the Kings have since lost games to Orlando, Miami and Atlanta.

The Kings were burned by former teammate Mike Bibby in Wednesday's meeting with the Hawks. The standout guard tied a season high with 24 points and dished out 12 assists to lead Atlanta to a 123-117 victory.

The Hawks acquired Bibby from the Kings on February 16, with Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright, Tyronn Lue and Anthony Johnson going to Sacramento in return.

Brad Miller and Beno Udrih each had 25 points for the Kings, with Miller grabbing 13 rebounds as well. Ron Artest compiled 23 points, seven boards and four assists in a losing cause.

Dallas had won six straight over Sacramento before the Kings posted a 122-120 win at ARCO Arena on January 14. Sacramento has suffered defeats in eight consecutive visits to the American Airlines Center, however, and hasn't won there since February 27, 2003.

02/29 10:35:53 ET


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