Another day another game, with Saturday nights affair featuring two 15-win teams as the Sacramento Kings travel to Dallas to face the Mavericks.
The Sacramento Kings are in Dallas to play the Mavericks, in a game featuring two teams nobody pegged to have 15 wins just two months into the season. Aside from the fact this game will feature two surprisingly good teams, there’s plenty of storylines to follow in this one.
Between the Yogi Ferrell #RevengeSZN narrative,
the first meeting of Luke Doncic and Marvin Bagley III, the fourth installment of the De’Aaron Fox–Dennis Smith Jr. “rivalry” and an early season battle for playoff positioning, there’s no shortage of things to keep an eye on.
It’s also worth noting the Sacramento Kings have played some pretty good basketball in Dallas over the past few seasons, having gone 4-2 in the last three seasons and are on a two-game win-streak inside of American Airlines Center.
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Regardless, Sunday’s affair should be a good one. Firstly, today’s game will be Yogi Ferrell’s first against Dallas since spurning the Mavericks in the offseason to sign with Sacramento. In 118 games for Dallas, Ferrell averaged 10.6 points and 3.0 assists, but has struggled to find his rhythm since joining the Kings.
In 18 games with the Kings this season (10 DNP-CD’s), Ferrell has shot just 41.7 percent en route to averages of just 5.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in just over 12 minutes per game. In his last two games, however, Ferrell has gotten more playing time and has responded by averaging 10 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists on 50 percent shooting.
If Ferrell can rebound from a tough performance against Golden State (three points, 1-6 shooting) and turn in a good outing against Dallas, he could secure a bigger role for himself in Head Coach Dave Joerger’s rotation. That, or he could parlay his strong play into become a valuable trade chip.
Unfortunately for NBA fans, Marvin Bagley III is going to miss tonight’s contest, meaning we won’t witness the first battle from the 2018 NBA Draft’s second and third overall picks. Bagley is set to miss the Kings next five games at a minimum and could miss their next seven after injuring his knee against the Warriors on Friday night.
As a result, the earliest we could see Doncic and Bagley on the court at the same time (aside from potentially the Rising Stars Game) will be March 21 in Sacramento.
Fans, however, will *likely* get to see Dennis Smith Jr and De’Aaron Fox duke it out for the fourth time on Sunday night. Smith is recovering from a wrist injury, but is probable for Sunday’s game.
In their rookie seasons, the two top-10 draft picks in 2017 played three games against each other and while both struggled against each other last year, DSJ had the edge in scoring and efficiency.
In three games against Sacramento, Smith Jr has averaged 16 points, three rebounds and 4.7 assists on 38.1/23.8/73.3 shooting with 3.7 turnovers and a steal in 29 minutes per game. Fox, however, averaged just 10 points per game, but added in 3.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.3 steals and just two turnovers per game in 29.4 minutes a night. The Kings went just 1-2 in those games.
There’s also the playoff thing and while it’s still early to be seriously talking about playoffs for either team, it’s important for fringe playoff contenders to get wins against those they’ll be fighting against as the season progresses.
As things stand, the Dallas Mavericks (15-12) sit in sixth place in the west, while the Sacramento Kings (15-13) are just one half game back in ninth place. The Mavericks are sitting better in the conference and are also the hotter team, as they’ve gone 7-3 over their last 10 games while the Kings have gone a middling 5-5 over the same time frame.
The hotter team at home against a Kings team dealing with injuries to both Marvin Bagley III (23.1 MPG) and Iman Shumpert (25.8 MPG)? Seems like the Mavs are primed to secure their 16th win of the year.
Final: Sacramento Kings -107, Dallas Mavericks – 113