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13-23

Mavericks-Kings Preview

AP - Sports

The Sacramento Kings faithful can't be happy about recent reports surrounding the team's possible sale and relocation.

The Kings' recent efforts against the Dallas Mavericks have left their fan base feeling disappointed, too.

Having dropped 20 of 23 in this series, Sacramento tries to break through Thursday night against a visiting Dallas team that has lost 10 of 11 overall.

The atmosphere may be a bit different in Sacramento one day after reports emerged that investor Chris Hansen has contacted the Maloof family about potentially buying the Kings and moving the franchise to Seattle.

Uncertainty has been surrounding the team because the Maloofs and the city of Sacramento haven't been able to come up with a long-term arena solution.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is trying to find a buyer who will keep the Kings where they are.

"We're going to fight, and we're used to being in this situation," Johnson said Wednesday.

The Kings (13-22) are used to losing to Dallas, having allowed an average of 109.2 points during a 1-12 stretch against the Mavericks (13-23) and most recently falling 119-96 on the road Dec. 10. Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo scored a combined 52 points on 22-of-31 shooting (71.0 percent) in that game for Dallas.

"They have guys who can really score the basketball, so we're going to have to play good defense, get out in transition and try to make shots," guard Jimmer Fredette told the Kings' official website. "I think it starts on the defensive end."

The Kings weren't able to contain their last two opponents, falling 113-93 at Brooklyn on Saturday and 113-81 to Memphis two nights later. Tyreke Evans, in his first action since missing 11 straight games due to a left knee injury, had five points in limited minutes off the bench Monday for Sacramento, which was held to 36.8 percent shooting and outscored 27-8 in transition.

"It was a tough loss, tough all the way around," rookie Thomas Robinson said after collecting a season-high 12 rebounds. "There are a lot of things we gotta get better at."

While Sacramento hasn't had much go its way in this series of late, things could be different this time around given Dallas' poor play. The Mavericks are coming off Wednesday's 99-93 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers, their fourth straight defeat and 13th in 15 games.

"It's disheartening losing these games," forward Elton Brand said. "I haven't been through a stretch like this in a long, long time."

Collison scored 22 points for Dallas, which forced a season high-tying 21 turnovers but lost the rebounding battle 47-34.

The Mavericks took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter but were outscored 27-18 over the final 12 minutes, dropping 10 games under .500 for the first time since March 30, 2000.

"This is painful right now, to be losing like this when we were so close," forward Shawn Marion said. "It seems like when we get right there, we're going to do something to mess it up."

Dallas has gone 2-7 in the second half of back-to-backs while averaging 94.6 points - 3.8 below its season mark.

After averaging 8.2 points in his first five games back following offseason knee surgery, Dirk Nowitzki has put up 18.5 per contest over his last four. He scored 15 on 5-of-13 shooting against the Clippers.

Nowitzki, however, is averaging just 13.0 points on 38.5 percent shooting in his last five games against the Kings.

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