Friday, April 12, 2024
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NBA Preview: Dallas Mavericks (43-29) at Sacramento Kings (42-30)

The Dallas Mavericks will look to put some distance between themselves and the Sacramento Kings in the standings when the teams meet in Sacramento on Friday night for the second time in four days.

Luka Doncic had 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the first half to help the Mavericks lead at halftime, and Kyrie Irving scored 18 in the second half as Dallas pulled away for a 132-96 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday.

They tipped off that game tied for sixth place in the Western Conference standings, with the Kings holding a 2-0 lead in the four-game season series. Now the Mavericks (43-29) have the opportunity to pull two games ahead and earn a split in the season series with the Kings (42-30), whose two earlier wins in the season series came in Dallas.

Doncic, who finished with 28 points, and Irving, who had 24, were hardly a two-man show in Tuesday’s win. P.J. Washington had 14 points and 13 rebounds, Tim Hardaway Jr. produced 22 points off the bench, and the center tandem of Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II combined for 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.

The Mavericks limited the Kings to 96 points, tied for their fifth-fewest this season, on 38.9 percent shooting, also their fifth-lowest.

Dallas won its fifth straight game and ninth in its last 10.

Meanwhile, the Kings lost for the fifth time in their last 10 home games. They are not only looking up at Dallas in the standings but hoping to hold off the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, with just three Western play-in spots available between the four teams.

On a night when the Mavericks had 34 assists to the Kings’ 27, Sacramento coach Mike Brown thought the visitors had better ball movement, helping Dallas shoot 55.4 percent from the floor.

Among the league leaders in triple-doubles this season, Doncic and Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis had to settle for double-doubles in Tuesday’s matchup. Doncic added 11 rebounds and six assists for his 43rd double-double, while Sabonis had 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for his 68th double-double.

Sabonis leads the league with 25 triple-doubles; Doncic is third with 19.

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