Mavericks at Kings
Nineteen months removing from winning an NBA championship, the Dallas Mavericks are sinking fast in the Western Conference. Losers of four straight and 10 of 11 games following Wednesday's 99-93 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Mavericks will wind up a three-game road trip with a visit to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. The recent skid has dropped Dallas 10 games below .500 - the team's worst mark since March 2000. The Mavericks' only victory in the past 11 games came against the league-worst Washington Wizards.
Sacramento is no stranger to off-court distractions - the two-game suspension of DeMarcus Cousins last month for a verbal altercation with coach Keith Smart is a prime example - and there certainly is one brewing in California's capital city. Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Kings ownership is in serious talks to sell the club to a buyer who would relocate the franchise to Seattle. Reports out of Sacramento indicate that a deal is not close, but it's the latest chapter in an ongoing saga that has had the club linked to moves to Anaheim and Virginia Beach, Va.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest (Dallas), Comcast SportsNet California (Sacramento)
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (13-23): Dallas appeared poised to spring an upset on the high-flying Clippers, turning a four-point halftime deficit into a 10-point lead in the third quarter before faltering in the fourth. Darren Collison scored a team-high 22 points but the Mavericks received a paltry 19 points from their bench. Backup point guard Roddy Beaubois had another unproductive performance with two points and could see his role cut into by Mike James, who was signed to a 10-day contract Tuesday.
ABOUT THE KINGS (13-22): Sacramento was steamrolled by Memphis 113-81 on Monday to halt a four-game winning streak at Sleep Train Arena. The silver lining in the rout was the return of swingman Tyreke Evans, who had missed 11 games with a sore left knee. Evans' scoring average has dipped in each season since 2009-10, when he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year and joined Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in their rookie seasons.
1. Dallas has won 12 of the last 13 meetings, including two of three last season.
2. Cousins had 10 points and eight rebounds Monday to snap his streak of double-doubles at six games.
3. Mavericks F Dirk Nowitzki has averaged 22.8 points in 49 career games against Sacramento.
Kings 102, Mavericks 96.