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Kings vs. Mavericks Preview: The Battle of What If

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The Kings face Luka Doncic for the first time.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks and Kings used to have a great rivalry back when both teams were powerhouses in the Western Conference. Now both teams are on the rise again thanks to young star guards, and these matchups will face heavy scrutiny for years as the Kings opted to pass on Luka Doncic in last summer’s draft in order to take Marvin Bagley III. Both teams have been happy with their decision so far, but there will always be that lingering question in the back of people’s minds.

Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: Sunday, December 16th, 4:00 PM PST

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The big story with Dallas has of course been Luka Doncic. As many people correctly predicted, Luka has been the NBA’s most ready rookie. His transition to the NBA has not been as harsh as some thought it would be as he’s already playing like a star, averaging 17.8 points (second on the Mavericks only behind Harrison Barnes’ 17.9), 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 32.3 points per game. Doncic continues to dazzle the internet with the big time clutch shots and flashy passes that made him such a well known commodity even before he came to the NBA.

But the Mavericks are more than just Doncic. They are the 9th best defensive team in the NBA, anchored by newcomer DeAndre Jordan and a resurgent Wesley Matthews. Second year guard Dennis Smith Jr. also provides good size and athleticism at Point Guard, even if he hasn’t made nearly the same leap as De’Aaron Fox has yet. The Mavericks also recently welcomed back living legend Dirk Nowitzki in their last game and are going to be incorporating him into their rotation. Nowitzki is not the same player he used to be, but he’s still a deadly shooter. It remains to be seen how much he plays as he only played 6 minutes in his first game back.

The Mavericks have posted a 15-12 record thanks to tremendous success at home. The Mavericks are just 2-10 on the road, including their last loss to the Devin Booker-less Suns. However they’re 13-2 at home and have won 10 straight. Dallas’ record might be a little bit of fools’ gold however, as they’ve currently faced the weakest schedule in the entire NBA. But the fact remains that this a team to be reckoned with in their building and Dallas has never been an easy out for Sacramento, who will be without Marvin Bagley and likely Iman Shumpert as well.

Prediction

De’Aaron Fox reminds everyone that he’s the guard everyone should be talking about, and the Kings bounce back from their heartbreak against the Warriors by breaking Dallas’ home winning streak.

Kings 131, Mavericks 115