With Sacramento’s six game road trip finally coming to a close, the Kings are in Dallas Wednesday night to take on a Dallas Mavericks team who very much look like they’ll miss the playoffs for only the second time since the turn of the millennium. Injury plagued and just plain old, the Mavericks will be without franchise cornerstone Dirk Nowitzki, starting center Andrew Bogut, back up point-guard/Hobbit JJ Barea and will also probably be without the greatest shooting guard to ever play less than 700 minutes for the Kings, Seth Curry. That being said, anyone assuming that a team with Rick Carlisle at the helm is just going to lay down, is in for a rough night. Here’s to getting out of Dallas before the injury bug hits our trade bait!
Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Wednesday, December 7th; 5:30 pm PST
Where: American Airlines Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 am
For Your Consideration
End of the Road: As the Kings wind down their bizarre six city, five game road trip in which fans have seen a blowout, an overtime loss, a game postponement due to being in an X-Files episode, multiple games with big comebacks that fell short, and an after game fisticuffs bout between Matt Barnes and his reputation in Sacramento, the boys in purple should be coming into Dallas hungry for a win. It’s strange to write that a game in Dallas should be a win for the Kings, even without Dirk Nowitzki. Our former Western Conference rivals were able to do what we couldn’t; stay consistently good through multiple coaching changes as our stars began to age, and so, being in the mindset that the Kings, as bipolar as they are, should absolutely take this game is strange. That being said, the Kings absolutely need this win or probably more accurately, need to not lose this game. A loss to a Mavericks squad that is currently sitting at 4-16 could end up being a disaster for the organization’s playoff goals this season. For the growing nihilist sect of Kings fandom, that would be good news! Your “blow it up” brothers and sisters in arms should also be rooting for a loss, but for those who just want the Kings to put Ws on the board, getting smacked in a game against a team without any hope for the rest of this season could be it for this roster. Any bell ringing or clock cleaning by a team not from Sacramento on Wednesday night could wake the phone up in Vlade’s office, and he might not be in such a hurry to put it back to bed.
Kings Focus: For the Kings win tonight in Dallas, they’re are going to be a couple things they’ll need to do. First off, the Mavericks are the lowest scoring team in the league, scoring 92.3 points per game, so holding them around their season average would be a mighty big step in the right direction. They play at the second slowest pace in the league as well, so the Kings really ought not be winded. But here’s the crux, here’s where the Kings just need to show up and perform; the Mavericks are a terrible shooting team. Not from deep or inside the arc; they’re bad from everywhere. They’re last in the league in field goal percentage, averaging 41.2% from the field. They’re third worst in the NBA at three point percentage at 32.3% a game and they’re ninth in the NBA in attempts with 30 a game. They’re second worst in the NBA at two point percentage at 46.1%, but take the fourth fewest two point shots. Finally they’re last in the league in free throws made and attempted, but on the off chance that they do at the line, they’re sixth in the league in percentage at just a hair under 80%. I feel like a broken record saying this but, keeping Dallas shooters from getting too hot for too long is going to win the game for the Kings. The Kings cannot allow themselves to get down in this game and then try to comeback later. Time and time again they’ve proven that they just aren’t good enough to be that kind of team. On top of all that…
The Dallas Mavericks hold their opponents to the seventh lowest points per game in the entire league at 99.2 a contest. By controlling the pace and limiting possessions and shot attempts, the Mavericks have found themselves with a pseudo-good defense. Mavs opponents shoot an average of 39.1% from deep, second highest percentage in the league, however Dallas allows the second fewest threes taken. In fact, the allow second fewest two pointers taken as well, and when teams do get them, they’re shooting under 50% on them. Don’t get me wrong here: the Mavs are worst in the league in blocks and 24th in steals, and are the worst rebounding team in the league, ranked 27th in offensive rebounding and 30th in defensive rebounding. The Mavs are still a four win team. But, if the Kings think they can take the first quarter off and storm back later, they might just figure out that they won’t have the ball in their hands long enough to do so. Hit your shots when they’re open, rebound the basketball and punish Andrew Bogut’s back-up down low all night, and the Kings should take care of business.
Prediction: Sensing that this game might need him for some last second heroics, Deron Williams will elect to rest the entire first half to prepare. He’ll stretch out, drink that Gatorade, clip his fingernails to the perfect length. At halftime, he’ll make sure his head is shaven to an aerodynamic smoothness that Charlie Villanueva could be jealous of. The second half will go by and Deron will meditate, getting ready for that buzzer beater. With 2.5 seconds remaining in the game, Dallas will have the ball and wouldn’t you know it; Deron Williams steps out for his time to shine. Wes Matthew’s will put a pass right into Deron’s hands while he’s already into his shooting motion. Spy a defender standing in his general direction, he’ll pump fake. No one goes for it, but no matter, he’s open! Up goes the three. He falls back towards the bench in the hopes of a call. IT GOES IN! He’ll run off the floor and into the locker room yelling “And he fouled me!”. His teammates will walk into the tunnel behind him, having just lost the game by fifteen points rather than eighteen. Deron will high-five himself, then, settling into his locker, a furrowed brow will appear, and as the reality of the world sets in, small single tears will fall onto his perfectly clean, completely dry jersey.
Kings 109, Mavericks 94