The Mavericks will seek their fourth consecutive win on the heels of the team’s first buzzer-beating game winner in four seasons. It was less than 48 hours ago Dirk Nowitzki took over yet another game in now his 16th NBA season and Monta Ellis sealed the deal one picture perfect 20-foot jumper.
THE GAME AT HAND:
Unlike the Eastern Conference, the teams out West offer far less expected wins – if any. No NBA team should be taken lightly, but Dallas does get a favorable road matchup against the 5-13 Sacramento Kings in Sleep Train Arena.
The Kings will be short-handed tonight after they agreed to a seven-player trade with the Toronto Raptors Sunday evening. In the deal the Raptors send F Rudy Gay, F Quincy Acy and C Aaron Gray to Sacramento in exchange for G Greivis Vasquez, G John Salmons, F Patrick Patterson and F Chuck Hayes.
Rudy Gay will fly to Sacramento on Monday morning and expected to make his Kings debut on Wednesday against Utah, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2013
Sacramento was riding a six game losing streak before they defeated the Utah Jazz 112-102 Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
Ultra-talented big DeMarcus Cousins leads the Kings in points (22.0) rebounds (9.9) steals (1.6) and blocks (1.3). Isaiah Thomas has been a spark plug and model of efficiency off the Sacramento bench, but will move into the starting unit with the departure of Vasquez. Rookie Ben McLemore has averaged 15.8 points and 33.5 minutes in four of his last five games.
Nowitzki and Ellis average for 42.8 points together on the season – the total nearly split evenly down the middle. Both shoot north of 47-percent and grab over one steal with Ellis averaging close to six assists per while Dirk hovers at six nightly rebounds.
Dallas own a 9-1 record against the Kings in the past 10 regular season meetings.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
The vocal point of the Sacramento Kings team starts and ends with Mr. Cousins. The dynamic center can completely dominate a game if given the opportunity. Dallas’ objective must be to get physical with the former Kentucky Wildcat and make him work on both ends of the floor. Cousins can be foul prone and if the Mavs can be aggressive early it can set the tone from the beginning.
Avoid a close game down the stretch. Contrary to its name, Sleep Train Arena gets loud as any (They actually own the world record for sound level in an sports arena) and have extremely passionate fans. The Mavs know they can win in any environment, but it doesn’t always end the way it did in Portland on Saturday.
MATCHUP OF THE NIGHT: Mavs Big Men vs. DeMarcus Cousins
It’ll be fun to watch Cousins play because he’s so very skilled for his age and size. Trying to contain him isn’t the easiest task, but that’s what I want to see in this one from our platoon of DeJuan Blair, Samuel Dalembert and Bernard James.
Blair has been starting lately and his impact needs to be physicality on the block and make Cousins work defensively, while Dalembert and James can utilize length and shot-blocking ability to challenge Boogie on the offensive end.
“Every win is huge, every win you can get is huge.” We hadn’t been playing great on the road this year. Our hope is that we can build some chemistry, build some togetherness out here, which isn’t easy. [Portland] is a hard place to play. Sacramento is hard to play, Golden State is hard to play. So, we have to be really together and this is a positive step in the right direction in a win.”
- Rick Carlisle
WHEN AND WHERE: Game action starts 9 p.m. CT and airs on both Fox Sports Southwest and Comcast Sports California.
Source – ESPN Dallas (Carlisle quote); SacBee (photo)