Cash it in or go for broke. With two games remaining before the All-Star break, the Sacramento Kings travel to Dallas to take on the Mavericks at AmericanAirlines Arena. Will they come out swinging or look like a team already one foot out the door on vacation?
The Kings have lost two straight and four of their last five, but they’re beat up and fresh off a roster shakeup. De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento last time out, scoring 23 points against the T-Wolves. He was one of six Kings to score in double-figures, but the Kings couldn’t close out Minny late.
Dallas is 3-11 over their last 14 games, but one of those wins came over the Kings at Golden 1 Center. They are an interesting mix of young and old. Dirk Nowitzki is still roaming the perimeter and Harrison Barnes has developed into a quality scoring option in his second season in Dallas.
Mavs by 6.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Justin Jackson vs. Doug McDermott -- Jackson has posted double-digit scoring in four of his last seven games and shot 50 percent from the field or better in all but one of those opportunities. He’s quietly improved his per game numbers across the board, including rebounding, assists and points. Dougie McBuckets is getting another new lease on life after joining the Mavs at the deadline. He can shoot the rock, but so far in his career, that’s about it.
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: SG/SF Iman Shumpert (plantar fasciitis) out, SF Bruno Caboclo (personal) status unknown at this time, PF Skal Labissiere (shoulder strain) out, PG Frank Mason (plantar fascia tear right heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.
Mavs: G Seth Curry (leg) out for the season, C Nerlens Noel (thumb) out, PF Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) out.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Rookie Point Guard Battle - De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith are going to battle for the next decade in the Western Conference. Fox won the last matchup between these two, but Smith’s team came away with the win. Fox is the faster of the two, but Smith touts a 48-inch vertical.
Stay Focused - The Kings are 9-21 away from Golden 1 Center this season, compared to 8-17 at home. They’ve had shocking wins over the Warriors, Pelicans and Heat on the road this season, showing that they can rise to the occasion. With the All-Star break just two days away, Sacramento needs to remain focused on task at hand.
Get to the Line -- Sacramento continues to rank last in the league in free throw attempts at 17.5 freebies per game. Willie Cauley-Stein ranks first on the team with 3.3 attempts and Fox is second at 2.9, but the team needs more out of players like Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Zach Randolph.
The Kings and Mavs are all tied up at 1-1 this season, with each team winning on the road. Dallas hold a 93-68 advantage over the Kings all-time, and a 76-55 lead during the Sacramento-era.