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Four-Pointer: Previewing the Sacramento Kings

The Mavericks will have their hands full as they try to slowdown DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What has Sacramento done lately?

The Kings have won just five of their last 14 games since the start of November. While losing nine games in that span, including a loss to the Thunder Friday night, doesn't seem ideal, this is a team that is playing for the lottery. Wins are just pleasant surprises.

Which Kings player might be due for a big game?

Almost everything points to DeMarcus Cousins having a monster game. Last time Sacramento was in Dallas, Cousins did not play because of a one-game suspension he was serving. He will be playing on Saturday. This season, DMC is averaging 22 points on 49.1 percent field goal shooting, 11.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.3 blocks.

He is coming off a complete dud of a game against the Thunder (four points, four rebounds, two assists) so one can imagine that he'll be ready to play tonight.

What's the biggest matchup to watch?

Based on everything I just wrote, it's obviously the play of Samuel Dalembert and Cousins. Dalembert has been playing better, perhaps almost inspired, recently. He still fumbles the ball at the rim from time to time but that's just what you have to expect from him. His energy and enthusiasm, despite a sore back, are refreshing.

If Sammy can hold his own and get Cousins in foul trouble like he was in Oklahoma City, it could turn the tide of the game in the Mavs' favor. If not? Well, the fans love it when Bernard James is on the floor. Unfortunately, there are only two scenarios when that happens and only one is good. It wouldn't be good to see him early.

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

Dallas really needs to limit Sacramento's free throw attempts. The Mavericks have a knack for fouling 3-point shooters which they need to keep in check. They also need to get Cousins in foul trouble if possible. Sacramento turns the ball over often and allows their opponents to shoot a high percentage, the Mavs must exploit these traits by playing the passing lanes on defense and scoring in transition.

Oh, and Dirk Nowitzki needs to show up in the fourth quarter. He hasn't connected on a field goal in the fourth quarter in the three losses Dallas has during the home stand.