The Dallas Mavericks have won three of their last four and will try to keep the momentum going Monday night when they host the Atlanta Hawks.
The Mavs have taken two in a row at home, including a 116-91 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Dallas was 26 points ahead at halftime and cruised to victory.
Shawn Marion led the Mavs with 26 points and Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison and Elton Brand all scored in double figures for a Dallas team that is trying a decidedly hockey approach to getting back to .500.
The team decided this week that they would not shave until they got back to even on their record. Hockey teams will grow "playoff beards," but the head coach is mildly in favor.
"The beards are great, but growing a beard is not going to make you play well," Rick Carlisle told the Mavericks website. "Growing a beard and everybody doing it and everybody playing hard and being there for each other in games and making a commitment to play hard and keep things simple, that's what creates success. And I think the guys understand that. It's just not as simple as growing beards and playing well. That's not how this is going to work. But I am in favor of it."
The Hawks have dropped three of their last four. They fell at home on Friday night to the New Orleans Hornets, 111-100.
"Defensively, we didn't have a presence," said head coach Larry Drew. "We didn't play the way I felt we should have from an energy standpoint. We were not very energized."
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 23 points and Jeff Teague continued his fine form of late with 21 points and nine assists. Kyle Korver established a new franchise record with a made 3-pointer in his 43rd straight game.
With Lou Williams done for the season after a torn ACL, the Hawks chances for a deep playoff run were still flickering. Now, rumors are surfacing that Atlanta is shopping free-agent-to-be Smith.
Smith hasn't been bothered by questions of his status for next season.
The Hawks certainly didn't lose on Friday night because of trade rumors about one of their stars. They allowed the Hornets to shoot 52 percent from the field and 56 percent from the 3-point line.
Atlanta squandered a double-digit lead in the first half and lost the third quarter, 29-16, then dropped the fourth by three.
"Our demise has really been the third quarter. We have really come out flat in third quarters," Drew said. "We can't continue to come out and be that low energized in the third quarter."
The Mavs, who've won three straight in Big D, have won three of the last four in this series and are 6-1 at home against Atlanta in their last seven.