The Mavericks can always count on a win over the Kings, right?
The Mavs have won the last 10 meetings with the lottery-bound Kings and 26 of the last 31. Dallas set a slew of franchise defensive records during a 99-60 win at the American Airlines Center on Jan. 14, the last time they faced the Kings.
But nothing is easy these days for the Mavs, who have lost six of their last eight games and are playing for the eighth time in 11 days since the All-Star break. The Mavs, who had the best road record in the league the last two seasons, have lost five in a row away from the AAC.
The Kings are also surprisingly competent in Sacramento. They are 9-6 in Sactown, having played the fewest home games in the NBA this season.
Records: Mavs (23-18); Kings (13-26)
When: 9 p.m.
Where: Power Balance Pavilion
TV: FSSW/NBA TV
Radio: ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: How will Jason Terry respond to being benched for crunch time for the second time in five games? Terry has been terrible on the road all season, averaging 11.8 points on .338 shooting. However, his benching in Phoenix appeared to have much more to do with effort -- or lack thereof -- than production. Coach Rick Carlisle called timeout immediately after Terry’s failure to box out led to a putback dunk by Phoenix’s Shannon Brown, and Terry didn’t take off his warm-ups the rest of the night.
Key matchup: Kings C/PF DeMarcus Cousins vs. Mavs big men -- If Haywood can’t play for the third consecutive game, the Mavs could have a big problem on their hands. Ian Mahinmi, who is prone to foul trouble, would have to spend most of the night banging with the skilled, 6-foot-11, 270-pound Cousins. Fresh-from-the-D-League Sean Williams is a great leaper who played with excellent energy against the Suns, but he’d also be giving up about 35 pounds to Cousins, who averages 16.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.
Injuries: Mavs – G Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) is out, C/PF Brandan Wright (concussion) is out, C Brendan Haywood (sprained left ankle) is questionable; Kings – PF J.J. Hickson is questionable.
Up next: Mavs at Golden State Warriors, 9:30 p.m. Saturday