The Golden State Warriors can accomplish a minor feat Sunday night that they've surprisingly managed to do just once since early November -- win four games in a row.
The first half of the season has been something of a struggle for the Warriors (28-14), at least by Golden State standards. They'll look to extend their recent hot play during a visit to Dallas, where they lost on Nov. 17. The Mavericks (20-22) are 16-4 on their home floor.
Since Golden State reeled off eight straight wins from Oct. 22 through Nov. 5, the Warriors haven't put together a string of more than four wins in a row. Their current three-game streak is the first time they've won more than two in a row since early December.
Dallas will be Golden State's fourth consecutive opponent that resides outside the playoff mix in either conference, giving the Warriors a shot to climb a little closer to Western Conference-leading Denver before a showdown with the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday night.
The Warriors, who are anticipating the season debut of center DeMarcus Cousins at some point in the coming week, won their last two games against New York and Chicago by a combined 64 points.
"Guys were having fun. It's felt good. It think this week's been good," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following Friday's 146-109 blistering of the Bulls. "A couple feel-good games, and now we've got some tough ones coming up, so we've got to be ready."
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, whose 28.8 points and 5.6 assists a game have him squarely in the league MVP discussion again, will get a good look at his potential All-Star teammate, impressive Dallas rookie Luka Doncic.
The 19-year-old Doncic is taking the league, and NBA fans, by storm. Doncic has received the second-most votes among frontcourt players in the West behind only LeBron James, and he's received 125,919 more votes that Curry after the NBA released the second return of fan votes on Thursday.
It can be debated why the 6-foot-7 Doncic, who is often Dallas' primary ball-handler, is listed as a frontcourt player on the All-Star ballot, but not up for debate is his spectacular performance so far.
The Rookie of the Year favorite is averaging 20.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game. He posted a line of 29 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer, 12 assists and eight rebounds in Dallas' 119-115 road win over Minnesota on Friday. In his last three games, Doncic is averaging 28.7 points on 46.7 percent shooting, 6.3 assists and 7.0 assists.
"Luka, he's aggressive, man," Mavs center DeAndre Jordan told the Dallas Morning News after Friday's game. "He's been that way for us all season, but I feel like he's taking it to another level. He's coming into his own."
Doncic might have to shoulder even more responsibility against the Warriors because Dallas could be without two key guards. Dennis Smith Jr. has missed consecutive games with a sore back, and bench spark plug J.J. Barea left Friday's game with a possible torn Achilles tendon, according to reports.
--Field Level Media