The Dallas Mavericks have won three of their last five and will try to head into the All-Star break on a high note when they host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.
The Mavs lost the last time out, a 105-101 setback at home to the Atlanta Hawks.
"We've just got to learn from these things and get better," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "We have gotten better, but we haven't broken the threshold that's gonna make us a team that can really become a dangerous team. I think we're a dangerous team, I think we can beat anybody on any given night, but the consistency has got to be better."
The Hawks broke out to a 10-0 lead to start the game and Dallas committed six turnovers in the first quarter.
"The game was lost in the first three minutes," acknowledged Carlisle. "We were down 10-nothing. We weren't ready to play. If you want it simple, that's simple. And it's on me. I didn't have our guys ready to play, so I'm taking all the responsibility for this. You've got a team of guys that just goes out there kind of walking around at the beginning of the game. That's on the coach."
Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 24 points against the Hawks. O.J. Mayo had 19 and Darren Collison, Vince Carter, Brandan Wright and Shawn Marion also reached double digits.
The Mavericks are five games out of the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, currently held by the Houston Rockets. They play three of four at home after the All-Star break.
The Kings saw their two-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night in Memphis. The Grizzlies won, 108-101, but the game was tight and Sacramento is showing signs of improvement.
"These young men deserved to win this basketball game," head coach Keith Smart said. "I thought these guys did everything they could to put us in a position to win it."
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 23 points and seven rebounds. Tyreke Evans had 20 points and seven boards as well, but went 0-4 from the foul line. Jason Thompson, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks all scored in double digits.
The Kings have had no problem scoring the basketball in the last three games. They are averaging 112.7 ppg during that span, but defensively, Sacramento is giving up 109.3 ppg.
Sacramento will host the San Antonio Spurs the first game after the break, then swing through the south for five straight on the road.
The Mavericks are 21-3 over the Kings in their last 24 and Sacramento hasn't won a regular-season game in Dallas since Feb. 27, 2003.