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Mavs close out homestand against faltering Kings

The Dallas offense should make quick work of Sacramento's porous defense Thursday.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks get another chance to pad the win column at home tonight before a road game in Denver followed by a brutal March stretch of nine straight games against winning teams. Winning isn't something the Kings have done much of lately. In the previous month, their only victories came against the Bucks, Nuggets and Sixers -- all teams sitting below .500.

Of course, Dallas hasn't been too hot against decent competition over the last month and a half. But if there's one thing the Mavs have done well recently, it's feast on lesser opponents.

Offense in no danger of slowing down

The Mavericks are playing some of their best basketball of the season on the offensive end, averaging 120 points with a 61.7 percent true shooting percentage over their last five games. Sacramento, meanwhile, gave up at least 107 points in its last 10 games before losing to Memphis 104-98 Wednesday. This doesn't look like the matchup where Dallas' offense hits a wall.

A big part of the Mavs' recent offensive output has been the team's highly paid wing duo. Chandler Parsons typically gets his due as the focal point of Dallas' scoring attack but shooting guard Wesley Matthews has really turned a corner after the All-Star break. Since then, he's posted an offensive rating of 124.8 offensive rating while making just under 40 percent of his three point attempts.

The amazing disappearing big man

JaVale McGee was a key contributor in Dallas' thrilling double OT win against Sacramento on January 5, posting a double double in 17 minutes. But he hasn't matched that production since and has been inactive for the last five games after two DNP-CDs. It's worth wondering if this is the kind of game where Rick Carlisle takes McGee out of mothballs to matchup with DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos. But JaVale looks to have earned himself a long-term stay in Carlisle's doghouse.

Tonight might include heavy doses of Salah Mejri off the bench. In 42 minutes this season against a Thunder frontcourt featuring Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, the rookie center has averaged 8 points and 5 rebounds with 75 percent true shooting. So there are certainly worse options for Dallas upfront.

Matchup to watch

Assuming Rajon Rondo sits with turf toe tonight, the evening's best individual matchup might be Parsons vs. Sacramentos' Rudy Gay. In February, after Parsons really started to put things together, he averaged 18.8 points, 5 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Over the same month, Gay posted 17.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. Both are big small forwards who spend a fair amount of time playing small ball power forward for their respective teams. And they'll probably be checking the other on defense for much of the night. Battling Cousins in the paint will be a group effort for the Dallas big men but the Parsons/Gay one on one battle could determine the outcome of this game.

Where to watch

The game tips off at 7:30 pm CT on Fox Sports Southwest. Or, for Mavs fans not in the Dallas area, you can catch the game on your streaming device of choice via League Pass.