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Kings vs. Mavericks Preview: Stop the bleeding

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Sacramento have lost five straight, almost all of them coming without DeMarcus Cousins available. Cousins should be good to go tonight, as will Gay, so tonight's a good chance for Sacramento to get back on the right track.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings head to Texas looking to snap a five game losing streak tonight in Dallas (5:30 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140) in the first game of a back-to-back.  DeMarcus Cousins should be available for action after missing 4 and a half games and he'll probably have a big chip on his shoulder after being left off the Western Conference All-Star team yesterday. (Cousins probably won't play, he was only able to play half-court in practice yesterday per Sean Cunningham)

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Jason Thompson vs. Dirk Nowitzki

Just going by the eye test, it feels like to me, Jason Thompson has actually done a pretty good job defending Dirk Nowitzki throughout his career.  The numbers from the last three years seem to back that up:  Dirk has averaged just 15.7 points on just 41% from the field.  In fact, Dirk hasn't scored more than 18 points against the Kings since Dec. 4th, 2010.  It also should be noted that the Kings have lost 6 of those 9 matches, so stopping Dirk isn't the only thing the Kings need to worry about, although I like our chances a lot better if Dirk isn't putting up his usual Dirk numbers.

3 THINGS

1. The Kings crushed the Mavericks earlier this season in one of their better defensive efforts of the season.  Dallas just just 38.9% from the field, and just .185 from three. Meanwhile the Kings were hitting on all cylinders and both Derrick Williams and DeMarcus Cousins scored over 30 points.  Sacramento will need to provide the same kind of defensive effort to have a chance to win this game on the road as Dallas probably won't miss as many wide open shots as they did back then in this game.

2. There's still no official word on whether or not DeMarcus Cousins will play tonight but I think he will.  He apparently looked pretty good warming up before the last game against Grizzlies, but still felt a little soreness.  By today I think he'll be fine, and especially wanting to play after not getting selected to the All-Star team. UPDATE: Apparently Cousins had a little trouble getting up and down the court in practice yesterday and was only able to go half court so his chances of playing today probably aren't great.  The Mavericks will be without Shawn Marion.

3. The Kings will have to value the ball; Turnovers have been an issue lately and the Mavericks lead the NBA in total steals.  Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion and Jose Calderon all have a nose for the ball in passing lanes, and if the Mavericks get out in the fast break, it's not going to be pretty.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

DMC got snubbed.
Dallas is first on the list,
to face Boogie's wrath.

I was wrong 'bout Cuz.
He's probably not playing.
Messed up my haiku.

PREDICTION

Kings 0, Mavericks 0 as DeMarcus Cousins, unable to play, comes out and sets the court on fire. Literally.  Surprisingly he was not arrested for arson but he did get whistled for a technical foul.  Dallas was unable to take the free throw, because again, the court was on fire.