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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings traded for Rudy Gay earlier this season. Since then, the Kings have been playing better. Unfortunately, Gay is hurt and the stalwart DeMarcus Cousins is also on the mend. With their two stars out, Sacramento has struggled.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What has Sacramento done lately?

The Kings have lost five in row. In those games they have given up 113 points per game while only scoring on average 102.8 points. They did manage to take the Oklahoma City Thunder to overtime but the rest of their games haven't been especially close.

Of course, a lot of this is the result of injuries. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay have missed a number of games. Cousins is on the mend after spraining his ankle and is questionable for tonight's game against the Mavs. Gaywas dealing with a strained left Achillies but returned to the lineup on Wednesday. He is listed as probable for tonight's game.

Cousins and Gay are Sacramento's leading scorers averaging 22.6 and 20.3 points per game respectively. Losing Cousins is an especially difficult pill to swallow. Before his injury he was simply a beast.

What is the Kings' biggest strength and weakness?

Sacramento isn't necessarily good at anything in particular. They are decent at getting to the free throw line and grabbing offensive rebounds. However, a lot of that stems from the play of Cousins. The team does score 14.3 points on the fastbreak per game. That should be a plus as the Mavericks are woeful when it comes to defending the fastbreak.

As for their weaknesses, well, for starters, they are poor defenders. Sactown gives up 104.7 points per game with opponents making 52 percent of their shots. Not only that, but the Kings do not move the ball well on offense.

Also, the aforementioned injury to Cousins is a huge weakness.

What player might surprise you on the Kings?

I had the opportunity to see Isaiah Thomas play the summer he was drafted. It was in Josh Howard's Celebrity All-Star Game, or whatever it was called, back in 2011 during the lockout. One of the things that that I took away from that bizarre game was the speed of Thomas. He could simply fly. I think he dunked some too.

Coming into this season, Thomas was widely thought to be the backup point guard as the Kings had brought in Greivis Vasquez after a stellar season in New Orleans. However, Mike Malone, the Kings' head coach, inserted Thomas into the starting lineup after Vasquez's performance was marred with inconsistency.

Thomas is averaging 19.9 points on 44.6 percent shooting. He is also connecting on an astonishing 38.5 percent of his 3-point attempts. On top of those numbers, he dishes out 6.3 dimes per game.

What do the Mavs need to do to be successful against Sacramento?

They need to learn from the disaster that was Wednesday's game. Did you watch Carlisle's presser video? I was scared to be in that room.

Hell, what more can the Mavs actually learn at this point? They do not have the personnel nor do they have the effort to mount anything that resembles a defensive stand. Look, the offense is fine. It's going to remain fine. The question is: When will this team focus on both sides of the floor and play like a cohesive defensive unit? All they have to do is play mediocre defense! That would be a major step forward.

Luckily, the Kings are banged up, a bad team, and scraping the bottom of the Western Conference. Dallas should win but we just really don't know at this point, do we?