The Dallas Mavericks make their only trip to Cleveland on Saturday night to face the Cavaliers, who are mired in a four-game losing streak, at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Mavericks had a rough night in Indianapolis Friday. The Pacers handed Dallas a 20-point loss, 103-83, and it was a bad loss on a few different levels.
Dallas surrendered 100 points or more for the fifth time in its last six games. The Mavs, losers of four in a row on the road, gave up 101 points to the winless Washington Wizards in victory on Wednesday, then allowed 103 to the Pacers. The Wizards and Pacers are ranked 30th and 28th in the NBA in scoring, respectively.
And, the Mavericks got one of their injured stars back on Friday when Shawn Marion returned to the lineup after missing the previous five with a knee sprain. Marion scored two points in 25 minutes against the Pacers.
"We've got to get consistency out there and we've all got to take accountability for what we're doing on both ends of the floor," he added. "Right now, it seems like our trust is not where it should be and we're not helping each other the way we should be helping each other. We've gotta get back to doing that."
The Cavaliers, who should be well rested since their last game was Tuesday, have dropped four in a row after an impressive victory in Los Angeles over the Clippers on Nov. 5.
Scoring hasn't been the big problem during this slide. The Cavs average 98.2 ppg over the last four, but they've surrendered an average of 108.25 ppg. That number is staggering and in fact, Cleveland has allowed 100 or more points to the opposition in every game since the season-opener against the Washington Wizards.
"In these first eight games, I think we've taken a step of two back," head coach Byron Scott said of his team's defense, which slipped to dead last in opponent's scoring.
Kyrie Irving is putting up All Star numbers. He is fourth in the NBA in scoring with a 24.3 ppg average and 6.5 assists.
The Cavs get a member of the rotation back on Saturday when rookie big man Tyler Zeller returns after missing four games after he fractured his left orbital bone and got a concussion against the Clippers. In that game, Zeller had 15 points and seven rebounds.
"It doesn't hurt as bad today as it did yesterday," said Zeller, who will wear a protective mask. "They did a great job making it. For the most part, I can see."
The Mavericks have won three of the last four in this series, but are 1-3 in their last four in Cleveland.