Kings vs. Mavericks Preview: Time for a little redemption

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings had one of their worst performances in franchise history against the Warriors on Friday. They'll look to bounce back as Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks head into town.

The Kings last played Wednesday in a victory over the Lakers, because you can't call whatever they did Friday in Oakland playing. The Kings get the chance to redeem themselves tonight against the Mavericks (3:00 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140), a team they nearly beat in Dallas a week ago.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

DeMarcus Cousins vs. Fouls

A big part of the Kings recent offensive struggles has been when DeMarcus Cousins has had to leave games early due to foul trouble. While there have been some bad calls, it's the avoidable ones that frustrate me the most; Fouls like lowering his arm to try to get a difficult block, or swiping at a ball out of frustration. The Kings are a much better team when Cousins is on the floor, especially when they're already missing Isaiah Thomas (who again, may or may not play tonight). Cousins needs to find a way to avoid fouling so that he can stay in games.

3 THINGS

1. Wow. That last game was bad. So bad in fact, that it almost makes this game all the more important, just to get back on the right track. Nobody could say they had a good game, except maybe DeMarcus Cousins, but even he was limited by foul trouble (see above). We don't need a win, but we need a hell of a lot better performance and effort.

2. The Mavericks have had a day off after winning back to back games in LA against both the Clippers and the Lakers. Barely a game separates them and being out of the playoffs. The Kings hit them hard last week, and I expect that they'll take the game even more seriously tonight. One of the big reasons they managed to beat the Kings was because they got to the line a bunch, especially in the fourth quarter. Sacramento needs to be able to defend without fouling.

3. Ray McCallum and Ben McLemore were especially poor performers against Golden State. Hopefully their confidence isn't too shaken and they can show the mental fortitude to bounce back. They had both been playing well before last game, so hopefully it was just one step backward before two steps forward.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

Forget the last game,
if you could call it a game.
Tonight we bounce back.

PREDICTION

Kings 108, Dallas 115 because this means a whole lot more to the Mavericks than it does to us.

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