The Dallas Mavericks (43-30) suffered yet another brutal loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers (51-22) and have fallen even further behind in the Western Conference Playoff race. They welcome the Sacramento Kings (25-47) to the AAC tonight in what SHOULD be a victory for the Mavericks.
The Game At Hand:
This is a tale of two different teams. The Kings are having another dreadful season, whereas each game is so important for the Mavericks, who are chasing the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. The Mavericks and Kings have split their season series so far, with the Mavericks taking the last one by only a 107-103 margin.
The Mavericks have a tendency to let teams like the Kings hang around, ultimately biting them in the end.
Sacramento has lost 7 of their last 10, including their recent defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
“The toughest position to lose is your point guard, just because he runs your team, and there were times tonight where obviously, we didn’t look like an organized basketball team,” coach Michael Malone said.
Keys To The Game:
1. Put Away Early
The Kings are on a second game of a back to back, so it’s crucial that the Mavericks come out the aggressor early on, and try and put this team away. The Kings typically play the Mavericks tough, so there should be no reason to let them hang around.
2. Don’t Overlook Young Prince’s, I mean Kings
This is a young team that features the likes of DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. They have played the last two games without young guard Isaiah Thomas, so they are a team with nothing to lose, which are teams you typically don’t want to play when every game counts, which is where the Mavericks current status is.
Matchup of the Night:
Dirk Nowitzki vs DeMarcus Cousins
On any given night, you don’t know what attitude you will get from Cousins, but the one thing you can expect is one talented young star in this league. He is physical, can rebound, and can hit the short jumpers.
Dirk Nowitzki on the other hand is looking to rebound from a rough 4th quarter the other night, where he struggled down the stretch and wasn’t able to propel his Mavericks squad to victory.
“They’ve got a talented team. You know, you just can’t overlook look them at all. They’re always going to give themselves a chance to a certain degree, so we know you have to put pressure on them early and take them out of the game early. You don’t need to be playing a close game with them.” – Shawn Marion on Kings Squad
We didn’t have him the last time we played these guys, and I think that’s one of the reasons that Gay got going the way that he did. With Shawn guarding him tonight, hopefully we can prevent that.”
– Rick Carlisle on having Marion tonight
When and Where:
Tip-off at American Airlines Center tonight is at 7:30 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (47-27) | Next 3 – MEM, @ LAL, & PHO
6. Golden State (45-27) | Next 3 – NYK, @DAL, & @ SA
7. Phoenix Suns (44-29) | Next 3 – @LAL, LAC, & @POR
8. Memphis Grizzlies (43-29) | Next 3 – @POR, @DEN, & @ MIN
9. Dallas Mavericks (43-30) | Next 3 – SAC, GSW, & @ LAC
Photo courtesy – (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Quotes via Kings.com and Mavs.com
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