Seven games under .500, the Dallas Mavericks can't afford to look for moral victories.
They'll try to avoid losing for the eighth time in their last nine games on Saturday night and extend their home winning streak over the New Orleans Hornets in the process.
Dallas snapped a six-game slide with a win at Washington on Tuesday, then headed further south to play the Miami Heat. Although the Mavericks took the defending champions into overtime, they lost a 119-109 decision.
In his sixth game back following knee surgery, Dirk Nowitzki netted 19 points and six rebounds off the bench in 29 minutes of action. He netted 15 of those points in the second half, including a clutch 15-foot fadeaway with 3.9 seconds left in regulation to force extra time.
However, the Heat began overtime on a 7-0 run and outscored the Mavs 16-6 in the frame.
"It shouldn't have gotten to overtime," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Our inability to keep them out of the paint was our downfall."
O.J. Mayo had 30 points for the Mavericks, who fell to 0-6 in overtime this season and have lost their last nine games beyond regulation dating back to last season.
Dallas has lost 10 of its last 12 overall, but does carry a six-game home winning streak over New Orleans into this game. The Mavs recorded a 96-81 victory over the Hornets in last season's meeting at Dallas.
The Hornets have lost 19 of their past 20 regular-season trips to Dallas, including 16 of the 17 games there since moving to New Orleans in 2003.
Ending their slide in Dallas would just be extra icing on the cake for the Hornets, who are just 7-25 on the season. They won two of their final three games in December, but have opened the new month with two losses.
That includes a 104-92 setback in Houston on Wednesday.
Ryan Anderson ended with 18 points and seven rebounds to pace the Hornets, who are just 4-12 on the road this season. Greivis Vasquez donated 15 points and 14 assists.
"I thought we competed, but the biggest thing for us, our defense," Vasquez said. "We are a team that defends and the second quarter and the last quarter, we gave up 20 points and 30 points. We can't really trade buckets with them, we are not that good. It's really tough to win because we really aren't that talented as other teams."
After making his season debut on Dec. 29 in a win over Charlotte and then playing three days later in a setback to Atlanta, guard Eric Gordon was held out of the loss in Houston as a precaution to rest a knee injury that has sidelined him for most of the season. He is likely to play tonight.
Rookie Austin Rivers started for Gordon on Wednesday and had just four points and one assist.