The Dallas Mavericks’ lone set of three games in three nights
didn’t get off to a good start, and they are hoping another long
streak of dominance over an opponent doesn’t end in the next stop
on their trip.
The Mavericks have dropped five straight on the road but have
won 10 in a row over the Sacramento Kings heading into Friday
night’s matchup at Power Balance Pavilion.
There is plenty of speculation about how Dallas (23-18) will
handle this grueling stretch of schedule with Jason Kidd, who will
turn 39 on March 23. Kidd logged 30 minutes and had 12 points
Thursday, but the Mavericks’ eight-game winning streak over Phoenix
ended with a 96-94 loss.
The Mavericks haven’t dropped six straight on the road since an
eight-game slide Nov. 7-30, 1999, but have to feel good about their
chances against Sacramento (13-26). Dallas hasn’t lost in this
series since a 102-95 defeat Nov. 11, 2009.
The Kings were dreadful in the first meeting this season, a
99-60 loss Jan. 14 in Dallas. The 60 points marked the fewest
allowed in Mavericks franchise history.
Fatigue was a factor that night, with both teams finishing
stretches of four games in five days. The Mavs had an edge,
however, since they’d blown out Milwaukee the previous night and
were relatively well-rested at home for a Kings team coming off a
loss in Houston.
Sacramento is now entering the second contest of a nine-game
homestand after defeating New Orleans 99-98 on Wednesday. Rookie
Isaiah Thomas came up with a steal and fed John Salmons for the
go-ahead layup with 6.8 seconds left.
The Kings ended a four-game skid capped by Monday’s 119-116
overtime loss at Denver.
“We obviously play different at home, so it’s nice to have eight
more on our court,” forward Jason Thompson said. “It was good to
get this win and get the monkey off our back. We’ve had a lot of
tough games lately, especially the Denver (one).”
Thomas, a 5-foot-9 second-round pick out of Washington, is
averaging 14.7 points in 10 games since making his first start Feb.
“People start looking at his heart, his desire, his toughness.
Those were never in question,” coach Keith Smart said. “I think
more than anything else, he was evaluated based on how big he is
and what can he do in the NBA before the draft.”
Second-year center DeMarcus Cousins missed Wednesday’s game with
food poisoning, but expects to play Friday. He’s posted
double-doubles in all four of his career games against the
Mavericks, averaging 16.0 points and 12.0 rebounds but shooting
only 39.3 percent.
It’s unclear what big men Dallas will have to counter Cousins.
Brendan Haywood has missed the last two games with a left ankle
injury and Brandan Wright is out with a concussion.
The Mavs had a chance to send Thursday’s game to overtime, but
Rodrigue Beaubois missed two chances to tie the score in the
closing seconds. Shooting guard Jason Terry was not on the court
for the end, and coach Rick Carlisle said that was a “coach’s
Dallas escaped with two-point victories in both visits to
Sacramento last season.