Game 28 Preview: Mavs vs Kings

After another letdown on the road, the Dallas Mavericks return home tonight to face Sacramento Kings for a 6 pm CT tipoff at the AAC. This will be the 4th matchup between Dennis Smith Jr and De’Aaron Fox, second year point guards that were taken #9 and #5 respectively in the 2017 NBA draft.

Dennis Smith Jr and De’Aaron Fox are both 21 year old lightning quick point guards who can jump out of the gym.  Both were thrust into starting roles on bad teams in their rookie season but were able to have very positive impacts despite their young age and inexperience.  They also both able to put together one heck of a rookie highlight film:

Dennis Smith Jr, Dallas Mavericks
MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2017 29.7 40% 31% 69% 3.8 5.2 1 0.3 2.8 15.2
2018 28.4 44% 35% 67% 3 4 1.3 0.5 3.3 13
Total 29.4 40% 32% 69% 3.6 4.9 1.1 0.3 2.9 14.7
De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
MP FG% 3P% FT% REB AST STL BLK TO PTS
2017 27.8 41% 31% 72% 2.8 4.4 1 0.3 2.4 11.6
2018 32.4 48% 41% 72% 3.6 7.6 1.5 0.5 3.3 18.1
Total 29 43% 34% 72% 3 5.3 1.1 0.3 2.6 13.4

Their career numbers are very close at this point in their careers but it is easy to see Fox has made an incredible leap in his second season.  Averaging 18 points and 8 assists per game on a surprising playoff contending team, Fox has gone from solid rookie point guard to potential All-Star.  DSJ’s stats have regressed a little bit this season but that is simply due to a change in role.  With the addition of Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan, Dennis has taken a lesser role in the offense but has still shown great improvements in his second year.  He is a much more efficient shooter (except for free-throws) and his most obvious improvement is his energy and leadership on defense.  His improved defense will be put to the test tonight as he will have his hands full trying to keep De’Aaron Fox away from the rim.  But if you talk to Dennis, he is ever confident and up for the challenge.

 

Tale of the Tape:

The Mavs have the same number of wins as the Kings but just one less loss.  This small distinction is what separates the 6 seed from the 9 seed in the West. While the Mavs have been the hotter team over the past 10 games, the Kings offense is a force to be reckoned with.  They play super fast and are the best shooting team in the league outside of free throws.  Shooting 39% from 3 point range is just ridiculous.  The Kings have 3 starters that shoot over three 3’s per game and make over 40%:  De’Aaron Fox 41%, Buddy Hield 43%, Nemanja Bjelica 48%.  Hopefully closing out on shooters was a point of emphasis in the Mavs practice between Thursday’s loss to the Suns and today.  The Mavs are good at turning over their opponents but although the Kings play the second fastest pace in the league, they only turn it over 14 times per game.

Dallas Mavericks Sacramento Kings
Record  15-12  15-13
Last 10 Games  7-3  5-5
Position 6th in West 9th in West
PPG 109.4 (18th) 115.6 (5th)
Offensive Rtg 109.4 (18th) 111.2 (12th)
Points Allowed 107.6 (8th) 116 (28th)
Defensive Rtg 107.6 (9th) 111.6 (21st)
Pace 99.6 (13th) 103.9 (2nd)
FG % 45.7% (14th) 48.1% (3rd)
3p % 34.7% (21st) 39.1% (1st)
FT % 74.8% (21st) 70.2% (29th)
RPG 45.6 44.2
APG 22.7 25.8
TO 16.0 14.0

 

Projected Starters:

As much as I would love to see Dirk get the start and hear him announced in the starting lineup with Luka Doncic, it appears from last game that this will be the Mavs starting lineup when everyone is healthy.

Dallas Mavericks PTS REB AST STL BLK
PG Dennis Smith Jr 13 3 4 1.3 0.5
SG Wesley Matthews 14.8 2.5 2.3 0.8 0.2
SF Harrison Barnes 17.9 4.4 1.5 0.7 0.3
PF Luka Doncic 17.8 6.8 4.5 1.1 0.3
C DeAndre Jordan 11.1 13.6 2.1 0.7 1
Sacramento Kings PTS REB AST STL BLK
PG De’Aaron Fox 18.1 3.6 7.6 1.5 0.5
SG Buddy Hield 18.9 5.2 2.5 0.5 0.4
SF Iman Shumpert 9.2 3.1 1.9 1.3 0.3
PF Nemanja Bjelica 11.4 5.7 2 0.9 0.6
C Willey Cauley-Stein 14.3 8.5 2.4 1.2 0.5

Injury Report:

This is potentially the first game that the Mavs are at full strength.  Dirk made his debut last game but JJ Barea sat with an ankle injury.  With Dennis Smith Jr and Dirk as probable, I am expecting to have them both on the court tonight.

It’s a shame that we wont be able to see 2018 #2 overall pick, Marvin Bagley, but it should aid the Mavs in getting the win tonight.  Bagley has been effective off the bench and came in 5th in our recent Rookie Rankings.

Player Team Description
Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks Probable (Foot)
Dennis Smith Jr Dallas Mavericks Probable (Wrist)
JJ Barea Dallas Mavericks Questionable (Ankle)
Marvin Bagley Sacramento Kings Out (Knee)
Iman Shumpert Sacramento Kings Questionable (Hip)

The Mavs are 13-2 at home this season including 11 straight wins.  Let’s go get another one, always rowdy, always proud, and always loud!

 

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