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3 things to watch for as the Dallas Mavericks try to steal a win from the Sacramento Kings

The Mavericks try to avoid a season sweep against the Kings on Sunday night.

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks (36-27) will get no rest after winning a 125-124 thriller against the Washington Wizards. They’ll turn right around and take on the Sacramento Kings (26-37) Sunday night in Dallas. The Mavericks have lost both times they’ve faced the Kings this season and this is their last chance to avoid the season sweep.

The Mavericks have been really banged up lately. Kristaps Porzingis is out with a sore knee again, while Maxi Kleber and Josh Richardson have missed games with various ailments, so it should be interesting to see who’s available when Rick Carlisle submits his injury report on Sunday afternoon. As far as what to watch for during the game, read on:

3-point shooting

It’s really as simple as the Mavericks need to hit their open 3-point shots. They’ll get plenty because the Kings are bad at defense. They allow the most points per game in the NBA and are next to last in opponents’ 3-point shooting percentage. Despite this, the Mavericks have absolutely failed to hit any of their shots from deep against the Kings. They’ve shot only 30 percent from behind the arc in two games against Sacramento. Conversely, they allowed the Kings to shoot 45 percent on 3-pointers in the two matchups. That’s a recipe for losing, and they’ve got to turn it around on Sunday night.


It’s something the Mavericks have struggled with all year, and the two previous losses against the Kings were no different. Dallas trailed at the end of the first quarter in both games, which has been a blueprint for disaster all season. The Mavericks have trailed by an average of 17 points at halftime to the Kings this year. Instead of coming out with low energy and getting down early, the Mavericks need to be aggressive from the beginning and put a bad team away as quickly as possible.

Draw fouls and hit free throws

In their two matchups this season, the Kings have shot nine more free throws than the Mavericks and have made 17 more. Dallas has been dismal at the charity stripe all year, and it’s been a big part of their losses to Sacramento. Again, the Kings are a bad defense. Bad defenses foul a lot, though the Kings are in the middle of the league in fouls. The Mavericks need to be aggressive on offense and not settle for jump shots. If they penetrate the paint and make the Kings’ defense scramble, they’ll end up at the free-throw line plenty of times. Then they’ll need to make those free throws. It sounds simple, but the Mavericks haven’t usually been able to capitalize on those free points at the line this year.

How to Watch

The game tips off at 7 p.m. CST on Bally Sports Southwest and NBA League Pass.