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Kings vs. Mavericks Preview: SEEING STARS

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Visiting the champs,
soaking in all that success.
Star struck? I hope not.

Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks
6 p.m. Pacific on Comcast SportsNet California

The Kings got roughed up in the second half of the team's loss at Houston Friday. To me, that was a story of four games: the one that the Rockets ran up on early, the Kings' fight back led by Isaiah Thomas and crew, the Rockets repeating their first quarter success in the third and the long, slow close-out by the Rockets. The Kings were near able to replace the big push they had gotten in the second.

The lesson: don't keep falling behind! It's easier said than done, but it happens when the Kings don't seal off the defensive glass. That ruins Sacramento's attack, which is best on the break and secondary break. We have a bad halfcourt offense right now that's still adjusting to and informing Keith Smart.

Unfortunately, Dallas is a good team -- better than Houston, surely -- and the same problems could crop up Saturday. Add in that the Mavericks have an undefendable big man in Dirk Nowitzki and decent backcourt/wing depth (compared to the thin Rockets), and ... yeah, the Kings are going to need much more from DeMarcus Cousins (who was completely taken out of his game by Samuel Dalembert Friday; that was like Battier on Evans all over again), and something from the Salmons-Fredette syndicate.

Game's at 6. Game threads at 6 and 7:30. Let's go Kings!