With nearly identical records and a similarly up-and-down 10-game stretch in the rearview mirror, the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks will take the court Saturday afternoon with the same goal in mind.
The Knicks will continue to face top-flight competition Saturday when they host NBA leadingscorer Luka Doncic and the Mavericks.
Both teams endured six-point defeats in their most recent games. The Knicks fell to the Milwaukee Bucks, 109-103, on Wednesday night, while the visiting Mavericks lost to the Detroit Pistons, 131-125, in overtime on Thursday.
The loss to the Bucks dropped the Knicks to 4-6 in their last 10 games, a span in which they've been victimized in defeat by superstars such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Stephen Curry, Ja Morant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 145-135 win on Nov. 13, while Curry had a double-double (24 points, 10 assists) in the Golden State Warriors' 111-101 win five nights later. Morant posted a triple-double (27 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds) and scored the game-winning basket off his own blocked shot with 13.9 seconds left in the Memphis Grizzlies' 127-123 win on Sunday night, three nights before Antetokounmpo finished with 37 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks.
"Sometimes, it's a bad bounce," Knicks guard RJ Barrett said. "The Memphis one, (Morant) got blocked, he got the ball back, he put it in, Something like that -- sometimes, it doesn't go your way."
The Knicks seemed to get a break when Antetokounmpo fouled out as the Bucks held a 103-102 lead with a minute left, but Grayson Allen sank a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 30.9 seconds left as New York fell to 10-12.
The Mavericks' current 4-6 stretch includes a 124-115 loss to the Bucks on Sunday in which Allen sank his first seven 3-pointers for Milwaukee.
The Mavericks seemed to get back on the right track by snapping a four-game losing streak on Tuesday. Doncic (41 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists) had a triple-double in a 116-113 win over the Warriors.
But Dallas frittered away an opportunity Thursday against the Pistons, who are 6-18 and in the thick of the race to finish with the best odds at landing French teenage sensation Victor Wembanyama. The Mavericks forced overtime by erasing an eight-point deficit late in the fourth quarter and led by four early in the extra session before Detroit finished on a 12-2 run.
While the Mavericks have allowed 108.7 points per game, the loss Thursday marked the third time in the last five games they've given up at least 124 points. Dallas surrendered more than 124 points just once in its first 16 games.
In addition, the Mavericks were outrebounded 52-30 on Thursday and have been outrebounded nine times in their last 10 games as they've fallen to 10-11 overall.
"Our team defense has to be better," Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd said. "We have to help each other. We're giving up a lot of rebounds. It comes down to effort and that's something that we'll talk about (Friday)."
--Field Level Media