The Kings have been streaking, winners of five in a row but today they face their toughest challenge yet in the 9-4 Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic’s MVP campaign is off to a blistering start and the Mavs are finally clicking after the additions of Kyrie Irving last season and guys like Grant Williams and rookie Dereck Lively II this summer. The Mavericks have been second to just the Indiana Pacers in total offense so far this season, but also have been near the bottom in defense, a similar situation as the Kings found themselves last year. De’Aaron Fox is making his own case for MVP though, leading the NBA in scoring and carrying the Kings to a 5-1 record when he plays.
Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: Sunday, November 19th, 4:30 PM PT
Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
TV: ESPN, NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140
Three in the Key
Luka Doncic has seemed destined to be a future MVP since he came into the league but the Mavericks haven’t been good enough yet for his gaudy stats to get him there. This year, that might change if the Mavericks can keep winning. Right now he’s averaging 31 points on 50.9% from the field and 42.2% from three which is career best efficiency, and he’s still dishing out 8.2 assists and grabbing 7.8 rebounds as well. But De’Aaron Fox is making his own case for the award, currently leading the NBA in scoring at 32.2 points per game on 50.7% from the field and a career-best 38% from three to go with 6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. Against the Spurs on Friday, Fox dropped his first 40 point game of the season, and you get the feeling watching him play this year that it won’t be his last. Fox and Doncic are also two of the most clutch players in the league as well, so this should be a fun matchup between the two to see who can carry their team to victory.
The Kings may be the team on the road today but they were already in Texas after beating San Antonio on Friday and Dallas is on the second night of a back-to-back after losing in Milwaukee yesterday. This is a prime opportunity for the Kings to push the pace and try to get off to a good start since it will be harder for the Mavericks to mount a comeback as the game goes on. The Kings did the opposite on Friday against the Spurs as they found themselves in an 18 point deficit in the first quarter. That’s a death sentence against these Mavericks who are a much better offensive team than the Spurs. The Mavericks are 1st in the league in three pointers made, 3rd in percentage, 5th in two point percentage, 6th in Free Throw attempts and 2nd in fewest turnovers. On the other hand, their statistics may be a little inflated as they’ve faced one of the softest schedules in the league to date with the 2nd easiest schedule. Of their nine wins, only one has come against a team currently over .500 whereas the Kings have three. This will be one of the tougher early season tests for both teams.
Kevin Huerter is listed as questionable going into tonight’s matchup and if he isn’t able to play that will really shake things up for the Kings. Huerter is a big part of Sacramento’s offense, especially running the two man game with Sabonis and providing some outside shooting. He didn’t have the best shooting night against the Spurs but before that he had been on a roll, making 20 of 39 threes in the previous four games. The Kings don’t have another shooter quite like him on the roster so it will be interesting to see how the team adapts if he has to miss the game. Rookie Colby Jones has been recalled from the Stockton Kings to be available and he would likely see some time in Kevin’s absence, but veteran Chris Duarte would likely start in his place. Duarte is fresh off his first ever Defensive Player of the Game crown and he’s shown he’s been a very capable defender so far this season. Offensively though, he’s been a bit erratic, and he’s only shooting 32.1% from three to start the season. He’ll likely draw a tough defensive matchup in either Luka Doncic or Kyrie Irving though and that’s where the majority of his focus should be.
De’Aaron Fox and Luka trade shot after shot in the clutch but in the end it’s De’Aaron who comes out on top as he hits a step back three over Luka to win the game at the buzzer.
Kings 127, Mavericks 126