The Kings travel to Dallas tonight to play their third and final game this season against the Mavericks. In January the Mavs dealt the Kings one of their worst losses of the season, with an abysmal final score of 99-60. The Kings turned the tables when the two team met in March, easily and convincingly defeating the Mavs 110-97. Tonight's match-up could go either way, as both teams have been hit or miss recently.
The Kings have lost 4 straight games since losing leading scorer Marcus Thornton to a calf injury during a victory over the Timberwolves. Thornton is hoping to play tonight, but his status will likely be confirmed later this afternoon. According to various reports Thornton wanted to play Sunday's loss to the Rockets, but the team kept him out as a cautionary measure. Odds are good that Thornton will return tonight, but it will remain to be seen how effective he is coming off the injury.
Dallas, meanwhile, are fighting for their playoff lives. The Mavs have lost their last two games, and are currently tied with Denver for 7th in the West, with both Phoenix and Utah only a game behind. The Mavericks playoff hopes took another hit yesterday as the Mavs reached and agreement with Lamar Odom that essentially ends Odom's season. He will be listed as inactive for tonight's game, and every game for the remainder of the season. The Mavericks are not waiving Odom, as he can potentially be traded this offseason. Despite his struggles this season, Odom is still a talented player that demanded the respect of opposing defenses. Losing him weakens Dallas' bench.
Of course, Dallas still has guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Shawn Marion. Dallas is not a team to be taken lightly. When the Kings defeated Dallas earlier this season, it was Dallas' second game of a back to back, and their fourth game in five nights. The Kings came out with high energy, and never let up. Tonight the Mavericks will be coming off two days of rest. The Kings will need to come out with more energy than they displayed against the Rockets, and will need a balance of solid contributions from DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, and, hopefully, Thornton.
Take note that tonight is an early game with tip off at 5:30 PDT. Game threads will be up at 5:30 and 7.