Game 20 Preview: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks

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DeMarcus Cousins rises for a shot block against the Golden State Warriors. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 5:30 pm PT

Where:  American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX.

Broadcast Information: Click here.

For Mavericks perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network affiliate The Two Man Game.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (7-12)

PG: Aaron Brooks
SG: Francisco Garcia
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

Dallas Mavericks Probable Starters (10-10)

PG: Derek Fisher
SG: O.J. Mayo
SF: Dahntay Jones
PF: Brandan Wright
C: Chris Kaman

Three questions to ponder

1. Will we see a return to form for Marcus Thornton?

The Kings’ sixth man has not been himself in the month of December.  Through four games, he’s averaged just 8.5 points on 32.4 percent shooting from the field and 36.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.  In the Kings’ last three games, he’s made just four of his 23 shot attempts.  With Tyreke Evans questionable for another contest, the Kings could certainly use Thornton’s scoring punch off the bench in Big D tonight.

2. Can the Kings contain the Mavericks on the break?

The Mavs are one of the best this season at scoring in transition.  They’re averaging 17.3 fastbreak points per contest, which ranks them narrowly behind just the L.A. Clippers (17.6) and Charlotte Bobcats (17.4).  Dallas has also outscored their opponents in transition in 13 of their first 20 games.  Through 19 contests, the Kings have limited their opponents to 14.2 fastbreak points per game.  Stopping the Mavs’ attack in transition will be one of Sacramento’s keys to victory tonight.

3. What will the Kings do defensively to slow down O.J. Mayo?

In his last game, the 25-year-old guard out-scored James Harden, tying a career-high 40 points in Dallas’ 116-109 victory over the Houston Rockets.  Mayo became just the second starting guard since Michael Finley in the last 18 seasons to score at least 40 in a game.  Since signing with the Mavs as free agent this offseason, the fifth-year guard is averaging career highs in points (20.9), field-goal percentage (48.2) and 3-point percentage (52.3).  With Dirk Nowitzki out because of knee surgery, Mayo has taken over the reigns as the No. 1 option for this Dallas team.  If Evans sits out another game, expect to see a heavy dose of John Salmons defending the Mavs’ two-guard.

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