What did Sacramento do over the summer?
Well, I mean, they weren't in the news at all?
Obviously one of the biggest stories of last season and offseason was Sacramento's fight to keep the Kings from being sold to a group that would have relocated the franchise to Seattle. It was a fantastic story that I enjoyed immensely and in which Dallas (the city, not the team) played a minor hosting role. And we all know how it turned out.
As far as personnel/player moves, the Kings were in need of...kind of a lot, including the front office. But the new ownership group went to work, and they did a pretty respectable job. They brought in sought after first-time head coach Mike Malone from the Warriors. In the draft, they took Kansas' Ben McLemore with the seventh pick and Ray McCallum in the second round. They let Tyreke Evans walk and signed DeMarcus Cousins to a max deal. Probably their most unexpected move was locking in Carl Landry for 4/$26 million. It's a step in the right direction for a team that didn't have much to speak of in competitiveness (but a ton of pride) last season.
What has Sacramento done recently?
Well, I mean, they haven't been in the news really at all recentl.......OH WAIT MY BAD.
Last night, the Kings traded for Rudy Gay in a move that set basketball twitter all aflutter. As of this writing, the deal will send Gay and Quincy Acy to the Kings and send back Grevis Vasquez, John Salmons, Chuck Hayes and Patrick Patterson to the Raptors. Okay then! Though, it seems Gay will not be available tonight against the Mavs, per David Aldridge.
As far as wins and losses, the Kings haven't won a lot (5-13) but a slightly closer look indicates that they've kept it very competitive in the losses. In their last game they beat the "upstart" Jazz on Saturday night, 112-102, so both teams will be working with a day of rest. As always, the Mavs will need to just score and keep scoring.
What team stat might determine the game?
Fouls and free throw shooting. As we've seen recently, for some reason the Mavs seem to have trouble getting foul calls, with Dirk inexplicably having to ask for calls and, you know, refs blatantly refusing to call a clear intentional foul. A few games ago there was another game where, similar to Portland, blatant non-calls on fouls were a factor. DeMarcus Cousins is currently 16th in the league in free throws and 11th in free throws attempted, and third in personal fouls (the Mavs' own DeJuan Blair is first). Isaiah Thomas is 19th in free throws and 18th in free throw percentage. (All per Basketball Reference.) If Sacramento can get to the line more than Dallas, Dallas is going to have to (once again, forever and always) rely on pure scoring to get things done. But if Dallas can get Sacramento in foul trouble early, that will certainly ease the burden on the scorers a little.