The Milwaukee Bucks are learning it takes a little bad luck - and a lot of bad basketball - to be the worst team in the NBA. The Bucks will try to change that luck when they visit Dallas for a date with the Mavericks on Saturday. Milwaukee is newly-minted with the worst record in the league after Chicago's Mike Dunleavy banked in a game-winning 3-pointer in a 91-90 Bucks defeat Friday.
The Mavericks are looking to avoid a season-high third consecutive loss as they return home from a 2-2 road trip. It's a homecoming of sorts for two players - Milwaukee guard O.J. Mayo played for the Mavericks last season and Dallas guard Monta Ellis spent 1 1/2 seasons with the Bucks before the two swapped spots in the offseason. Dallas has won two straight meetings and 10 of the last 15, including a 91-83 victory at Milwaukee on Nov. 9.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (5-18): Mayo (14.3 points) leads six players who score in double figures, but despite the balance, the Bucks rank last in the league in scoring at 89.6 points per game. Mayo has struggled with his shot recently, but he got back on track somewhat against the Bulls, going 6-of-13 for 14 points. Milwaukee does defend the post well - one of its few strengths - thanks in large part to the shot-blocking prowess of John Henson, who ranks fourth in the league with 2.22 blocks per game.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (13-10): Ellis (21.4 points) and Dirk Nowitzki (21.1 points) are among the top one-two punches in the league at the offensive end, so it's no wonder Dallas is one of the top offensive teams in the league. The Mavericks don't always get the job done at the defensive end, and they blew an 18-point second-quarter lead in a 95-93 loss at Golden State last time out. The bench will get a boost soon with center Brandan Wright ready to make his season debut - possibly against the Bucks - after recovering from a fractured left shoulder.
1. Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games.
2. Bucks F Ersan Ilyasova is 4-for-23 from the field in the past two games, scoring a total of 11 points in those contests.
3. The Mavericks are 9-2 at home, including a 4-0 mark against Eastern Conference opponents.
PREDICTION: Mavericks 105, Bucks 93