GAME 36 vs Dallas, Preview & Game Thread

Every time our heroes match up across those Mavericks in blue, I remember the night Chris Webber died. There have been infinite moments since which would require remembrance, but they all seem meaningless in comparison. Kevin Martin could cap off a quadruple-double night with a game-winning alley-oop to Justin Williams and I'm not sure the image'd permanently replace the visage of a crumpled Titan melting our reign of glory as the best fans of the best team. Until (I am guessing) a parade with a moonwalking Gavin Maloof occurs, I'm afraid this pall will remain. Like Len Bias in Boston or RFK in 1968, but perhaps with slightly less relevance, it is our sorrow.

Henri Matisse -- The Sorrows of the King

DALLAS MAVERICKS (26-11)   114.0 ORtg (# 2), 107.0 DRtg (#13), 88.6 Pace (#25)
SACRAMENTO KINGS (14-21)   106.0 ORtg (#16), 109.2 DRtg (#25), 92.2 Pace (#10)

Dallas is a pace-control team, perhaps moreso than San Antonio. It's odd, because Devin Harris and Dirk Nowitzki can play fast; it's brilliant with Dirk in the game, though, because you cannot gimmick he and Josh Howard into bad shots. They are too good.

The Dallas defense has fallen off demonstrably, though its pillars have begun to return. The understanding Kevin Martin will again come off the bench is intriguing if only because it assures Martin should get some minutes without Howard crowding his junk; barring a Trenton Hassell exposure, Martin should be able to get at alternate incarnations of Jerry Stackhouse and Jason Terry. It's worth noting it'd be beyond useful to have Mike Bibby available tonight (he'd shoot over Harris for hours) while Ron Artest might not help much (being that gameplan would concentrate on slashing the paint to death instead of begging for double-downs and kickouts).

Beno Udrih's the odd factor here. Sacramento desparately needs a solid outing to make a dent; Dallas defends Brad Miller well, Francisco Garcia isn't best in staid halfcourt affairs. I hope to be wrong, and I often am. But Beno's success cannot hurt nevertheless.

Game's at 7. Go Kings.

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