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GAME 3 at Dallas, Preview & Open Game Thread

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Dallas lost to Atlanta last night, something which may give both Kings players and fans some level of hope heading into tonight. I'm not damp spaghetti, but two blasts of despair:

  1. The Hawks might be good.
  2. Josh Howard.

Jake at Mavs Moneyball has some very sane points about uncharacteristic Dallas behavior with regards to rebounding and defense: Howard is a terrific rebounder for his position, and giving up 101 points in a 94-possession game isn't all that bad. If anything, the Mavericks' offense was poor (94 points in 94 possessions -- a 100 offensive rating). Jerry Stackhouse, Trenton Hassell and Eddie Jones deciding to shoot a combined 3 for 21 might have something to do with that.

But the trio could shoot just that bad again and Dallas could roll. The Kings offense is not close to passable. After two games (against one good and one great defensive team), Sacramento's offensive rating is 89.9. Perspective: The worst team offense last season -- Indiana -- had an offensive rating of 102.8. League average was 106.5. Sacramento isn't as bad as it's looked... but Dallas is no slouch on defense: The Mavs had the 5th best defense last year. Ugliness will reign, at least until Seattle visits the river city on Tuesday.

Barring an offensive explosion no one would see coming (despite the very nice second half in San Antonio), the Kings will have to lock down Dallas (the 2nd best offense last year) much harder than Atlanta did. You think the defensive personnel -- Mikki Moore, Kenny Thomas, Shareef Abdur-Rahim -- is in place to shut down Dirk Nowitzki? Good luck with that. Dirk might go for 40 in the first half; Josh Howard is a good stretch stronger than any King not currently suspended, and the Jason Terry/Jerry Stackhouse combination can bomb from halfcourt. Stopping one of those factors, even with Devin Harris most likely out, is a stretch. Two or all three, which with this Kings offense would be necessary to win, isn't happening.

But hey, this is where amazing happens right? Tip's at 5:30 p.m. locally on Comcast SportsNet, while Jason Ross again sings through radio frequencies. Go Kings.