Saturday, January 14, 2012
W2W4: Can Mavs take win streak to L.A.?
By Jeff Caplan
DALLAS -- Jason Terry badly wanted the home sweep, and now he and the Dallas Mavericks are halfway there. Up next is the struggling Sacramento Kings, the first team to fire their head coach -- which might be just as well for former Mavs assistant Paul Westphal.
No doubt the Kings have talent, but they are young and raw and the Mavs will look to make them their fifth consecutive victim before heading out on a four-game road trip that will including the Lakers and Clippers, then the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets.
"We approached the game [Friday's 102-76 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks] with tenacity because playing back-to-back at home is an opportunity," coach Rick Carlisle said. "You've got a chance to play two in two nights with two potential wins."
The Mavs will be well-rested. No starter logged more than 22 minutes. Point guard Jason Kidd is also expected to make his return against the Kings after watching the team win four in a row without him.
Records: Kings (4-8); Mavs (7-5)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: American Airlines Center
Radio: 103.3 FM ESPN; 1270 AM (Spanish)
What to watch: After four consecutive wins, the Mavs will switch up the lineup again as Jason Kidd is expected to return to the starting lineup, which would then likely return Delonte West to shooting guard and Vince Carter to the bench. Carter has been effective as a starter and had 16 points in Friday's win over Milwaukee, with 11 points coming on several nice penetrations in the first quarter. With the lineup returning to its former state and the struggling Kings coming to town after losing at Houston on Friday night, can the Mavs jump on Sac the way they took the Bucks out early?
Key matchup: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Brendan Haywood Cousins is coming off his second four-point game of the season Friday night at Houston, so expect the 270-pound, tempermental big man to want to get something going early against Mavs center Brendan Haywood, who has been holding his own this season without Tyson Chandler. Cousins, in his second season, won a battle of wills against the fired Westphal and now has some proving to do. He's had some solid outings, including four consecutive double-doubles prior to the clunker in Houston. He played just 18 minutes in that one, so Haywood can't expect the big man to be dragging tonight.
Injuries: Kings -- F Marcus Thornton (left thigh contusion) - is questionable; F Chuck Hayes (dislocated left shoulder) is out. Mavs -- G Jason Kidd (lower back) is probable.