STARTING LINEUPS & INJURIES
Paul Wespthal promised starting lineup changes following the latest defeat in L.A. Jason Jones indicates it could be DeMarcus Cousins and Beno Udrih returning to the starting five in place of Samuel Dalembert and Luther Head. That's closer to the unit that was successful early this season -- the differences are that Omri Casspi and Carl Landry started at the forward spots. Nothing I've seen suggests Landry will be coming back to the starting lineup, even though he's been atrocious off the bench, and Casspi didn't enter Friday's game until the Lakers had a lead larger than 20. So I imagine Greene and Thompson, as well as Tyreke Evans, will remain starters.
The Mavericks have been using a (successful) lineup featuring Jason Kidd, DeShawn Stevenson, Caron Butler, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler. Jason Terry is an early Sixth Man of the Year candidate, and plays more minutes than any Mav but Dirk and Kidd. J.J. Barea, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood are the other bench contributors on this deep team. Rodrigue Beaubois is not yet available for Dallas.
Anchored by the resurgent Chandler, the Mavericks currently have the league's No. 4 defense. The Kings have had trouble scoring against bad defenses, so I don't anticipate easy sleddin' against Dallas. The Mavericks boast the league's best shot defense; they don't force a ton of turnovers and are only average in defensive rebounding. But shot defense is highly important, and they do it better than anyone.
Dallas' offense is all about shooting high-percentage shots at a high percentage; that's all Dirk right now, with the big German putting up almost 25 a night on .619 True Shooting. Chandler and Stevenson have also been highly efficient with their limited shots, and Terry has been rather good as the team's No. 2 scorer. Thompson will certainly have his hands full with Nowitzki.
The Mavericks play at a slow pace, and the Kings typically are happy to oblige.
MATCHUP OF THE GAME
Thompson vs. Nowitzki. J.T. is more physical than Dirk, but that doesn't mean a thing if Nowitzki is raining jumpers. I don't think the Kings need to set J.T. up on the block much if at all. But allow him to release to the offensive glass, and it could cause a few problems for Dallas.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Tyreke will likely be guarded by Stevenson to start the game. He can score on Stevenson. He can score on all Dallas' guards. But will he?
The Giveaway Game post is up on the Sactown Royalty Facebook page. There's still time to catch up and win, thanks to Kings fans' eternal optimism and all these blow-out losses!
7 PM PT on Comcast SportsNet (sorry, Dishies) and KHTK 1140 AM. Game threads at 7 and 8:30. Let's go Kings.