SACRAMENTO -- The mood in the locker room was light-hearted and fun Friday night after the Sacramento Kings snapped their seven-game home losing streak. It’s a feeling the players would like to feel again as they take the floor on Easter Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks.
With 28 wins, the Kings are just one win away from matching last season’s total of 29. George Karl turned to Seth Curry at the shooting guard position against the Suns, giving the 25-year-old his first career start. Curry, along with rookie Willie Cauley-Stein are expected to see an increase in minutes during the team’s final 10 games as the Kings have fallen out of playoff contention.
The Mavericks trail the Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They’re 2-8 over their last 10 games and come into the game short-handed.
Kings by 1.5
WHERE THEY STAND
Kings: 28-44, third place in Pacific
Mavs: 35-37, fourth place in Southwest
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Dirk Nowitzki -- Cauley-Stein is likely to come off the bench, but the rookie had a breakout performance on Friday night that he would love to build on. Nowitzki is a legend and at 37-years-old, he is still playing at an incredible level. Cauley-Stein struggles defensively on the perimeter which is where Dirk lives. But Nowitzki is no match for Cauley-Stein’s athleticism, making this a matchup to watch.
Kings: SG Ben McLemore (non-displaced fracture right ring finger) probable, SG Marco Belinelli (sore right foot) out.
Mavs: PG Deron Williams (abdominal strain) out, SF Chandler Parsons (knee) out, SF Jeremy Evans (shoulder) out.
The Kings have had the Mavericks number this season. Sacramento holds a 2-1 advantage in the season-series, including a 104-101 victory at the American Airlines Center in March that snapped a 21-game losing streak in Dallas. The Mavs holds a 92-64 advantage all-time over the Kings and a 74-51 lead during the Sacramento-era.
“I mean it was good just to put it into a game setting. I’ve been drilling and drilling and drilling it for months now and to finally get a chance to put it in a game setting and use a game speed and have defenders playing, you’ve got to read the defenders – just putting it all together, that’s what you work for and that’s why it’s fun to play like that.” -Cauley-Stein on his breakout performance against the Suns on Friday