SACRAMENTO KINGS

Preview: Kings, Mavericks to square off with playoff implications

Mar 26, 2024, 9:15 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm

DALLAS, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 19: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings drives to the basket as D...

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

With just 12 games remaining in the NBA’s 2023-24 regular season, playoff races are beginning to heat up.

The Western Conference postseason race has–for now–turned into a three-team race for the sixth and final playoff spot between the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, and Phoenix Suns.

On the heels of another impressive defensive performance during Monday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Sacramento Kings will begin a pivotal two-game series with the Mavericks on Tuesday that will possess heightened playoff implications within each game.

The Kings (42-29) enter play against Dallas having won four of their past five games (eight of their past 11 contests overall) to jump back into the sixth spot in the West.

As for the Mavericks (42-29), they are holding steady with Sacramento in the playoff race–although the Kings currently have a 2-0 lead in the season series, needing just one of the following two games to clinch the tiebreaker over Dallas.

Tuesday’s action at Golden 1 Center will be the first of two head-to-head matchups between these two playoff hopefuls as the playoff push enters its final stretch. Can Sacramento gain a game on the Mavs in the standings and secure the tiebreaker? Or will they have to wait until Friday for their next chance?

It’s going to be an intense couple of games for the Kings and Mavericks.

YouTube video

Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks Game Info

When: 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center  – Sacramento, CA

TV: TNT

Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Coverage starts at 5:30 PM on Game Night

Line: Kings -1.5, O/U 236.5

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Mavericks coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Top-15 Defense vs. Top-10 Offense

Usually when I write these previews, I focus on the opposing defenses that the Kings will have to work past in order to pick up a win, but not this time.

Sacramento’s newfound defensive consistency has pushed them up the NBA leaderboard as they will enter play on Tuesday in possession of the league’s 14th best defensive rating (115.7).

The Kings’ successful March has been largely because of the adjustments they have made on defense, holding their past eight opponents to an average of just 101.4 points per game and keeping four of those teams under the 100-point mark.

Since March 12th, opposing teams have shot 43 percent from the field and 31 percent from deep against the Kings. This season, Sacramento holds a 24-6 (.800) record when keeping teams at 35 percent or lower from three-point range.

While the Kings’ improved defense has arrived at a very ideal time, it will have its hands full on Tuesday against a Mavericks offense that is ranked sixth in points per game (118.6) and seventh in offensive rating (118.4).

Sacramento hasn’t allowed an opponent to score 120+ points since March 7th (ten games ago), and they will have to keep Dallas beneath that mark if they want a better chance of getting away with a win.

Allowing the Mavericks to score 120+ point has nearly been a death sentence for defenses. Dallas holds a record of 28-3 (.903) when scoring 120 points or more this season, although the Mavs’ offense hasn’t been at the top of its game as of late.

Dallas has averaged 112.7 points over its past six games while shooting just 30 percent from downtown. If the Kings can hold the Mavericks to similar numbers on Tuesday, they have a very good chance of picking up a significant victory.

Ignite The Offense

On the other side of the floor, Sacramento’s offense has fared well against Dallas this season.

During their two wins at American Airlines Center, the Kings scored 124.5 points per game on 53 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Sacramento outscored the Mavericks by 10.5 points in those games, and when the shots fall like that for this Kings team, it bodes well for the final result.

Dallas isn’t the only team that is nearly impossible to beat when scoring 120+ points.

Sacramento holds a 35-4 (.897) record when scoring 120 points or more, nearly matching the Mavericks’ winning percentage when crossing the mark.

During their past eight defense-heavy games, the Kings have taken a step back on offense, averaging 112.9 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and 34 percent from deep. Both teams are in the midst of tough stretches from three-point range, but something will have to give on Tuesday night.

If shots are falling early, keep an eye on the race for 120 points.

Feed The Hot Hand(s)

Keegan Murray’s offense has come back around following a down stretch, as the forward is coming off of his first back-to-back 20-point performance in nearly one month.

Over his past seven games, the former fourth-overall pick is averaging 16.6 points and 6.7 boards on 46 percent shooting (36 percent from three-point range).

Sacramento is 23-6 (.793) when Murray has scored 20+ points during his career, and the Kings should continue finding the Iowa product on Tuesday while facing a Mavericks defense that has allowed opponents to shoot nearly 37 percent from three this season.

Of course, De’Aaron Fox will be the player to watch on offense against Dallas, as the guard holds averages of 32.5 points and 6.0 assists on 52/46/84 shooting splits during two matchups vs. the Mavs this season.

YouTube video

Domantas Sabonis is another player that could pose a problem for Dallas.

Fresh off of setting the post-NBA-ABA merger (1976-77) record for consecutive double-doubles, Sabonis will look to continue his high-scoring ways against the Mavericks on Tuesday.

During two matchups with Dallas this season, Sabonis has averaged 24.5 points–his fourth-highest average against any opponent this season–while grabbing 12.0 rebounds and shooting a whopping 80 percent from the field (12.5 attempts per game).

The Mavericks have struggled to police the paint this season, allowing opponents to score 51.9 points per game (22nd in the NBA).

Sacramento’s defense has been impressive, but the offense could be key against a suspect Dallas defense.

Kings vs. Mavericks Injury Report

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, March 26th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, March 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, March 31st – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 6:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, April 4th – Sacramento Kings @ New York Knicks – 4:30 PM PST

Thank you for reading SactownSports.com. Follow us on Twitter and Google News, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Newsletter

Sacramento Kings

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 17: Acting head coach Doug Christie of the Sacramento Kings looks...

Brenden Nunes

Kings Summer League team records 31 turnovers in loss to Memphis

In their first game in Las Vegas, the 2024 Sacramento Kings summer league team committed 31 turnover en route to a 103-83 loss to Memphis.

5 hours ago

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - MARCH 01: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles the ball against ...

Frankie Cartoscelli

Emirates NBA Cup 2024: Group Draw Results for the Kings

The NBA has released the groups for this season's Emirates NBA Cup. Who will the Sacramento Kings face in their group play?

5 hours ago

Kyle Kuzma #33 of the Washington Wizards shoots in front of Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento ...

Amiliano Fragoso

National NBA Insider believes Kings aren’t done making big roster moves yet

Are the Sacramento Kings done making big splashes in the trade market? Brett Siegel remains curious as to what's next for Sacramento.

10 hours ago

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 04: Keon Ellis #23 of the Sacramento Kings dribbles during the second ha...

Frankie Cartoscelli

Sacramento Kings NBA Las Vegas Summer League Schedule

The Sacramento Kings will begin NBA Las Vegas Summer League play this weekend. Here's the full schedule for the Beam Team:

14 hours ago

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 17: Acting head coach Doug Christie of the Sacramento Kings looks...

Brenden Nunes

Sacramento Kings announce 2024 Las Vegas Summer League roster

With the California Classic completed, the Kings are onto their next offseason event. Their 2024 Las Vegas Summer League roster is here.

1 day ago

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 17: Devin Carter #22 of the Providence Friars looks on during th...

Brenden Nunes

Report: Sacramento’s Devin Carter will miss approximately six months

After undergoing successful left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum, Kings' rookie Devin Carter is expected to miss roughly six months.

1 day ago

Preview: Kings, Mavericks to square off with playoff implications