The Dallas Mavericks (favored by 4.5 points on NBA odds) haven't lost three consecutive games yet this season, but that will be the case if the Mavs are upset in Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Nowitzki Bit off the Mark
Dallas lost at home by 13 to Detroit last Wednesday and then fell 120-100 at the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday afternoon as the Mavs' three-game road winning streak ended. Dirk Nowitzki had 25 points and Monta Ellis 23 for Dallas against the Clippers. Rajon Rondo was just 1-for-11 from the field for two points. Dallas was minus-27 with him on the court. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was ejected midway through the third after getting a second technical as Carlisle was arguing a foul on Tyson Chandler. It's the third two-game losing streak this season for the Mavs. Dallas followed the past two with close wins: 102-98 at the Lakers on Dec. 26 and 109-102 in overtime at home vs. the Knicks on Nov. 26.
Nowitzki continues to score at a high level, averaging 18.6 points per game, but his accuracy has been off. He shot 43.5 percent from the floor and just 27.8 percent from 3-point range in December, one of the worst shooting months of Nowitzki's Hall of Fame career. In five games this month, Nowitzki is shooting 44.7 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line. For his career, the German shoots 47.6 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from long range. Nowitzki has 27,456 career points, good for seventh all time. Next up on the list is Shaquille O'Neal, who has 28,596.
The Mavericks have made at least 10 3-pointers in four of their last five games. They are 15-3 this season when they make at least 10 3-pointers.
Dallas is 20-18 against the NBA betting spread this season and the same record 'over/under.'
Cousins a Beast for Kings
The Kings are 3-2 thus far in 2015 and beat visiting Cleveland, which was without an injured LeBron James, 103-84 on Sunday night. Sacramento had a season-low five turnovers. DeMarcus Cousins, who deserves to be an All-Star this season, filled up the box score with 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks. That was Cousins' 21st double-double this season and 17th in the past 19 games. Cousins is No. 3 in the NBA in scoring (23.9 ppg) and rebounding (12.3 rpg).
It was only the Kings' seventh win since Nov. 26; the firing of Coach Mike Malone hasn't worked out as planned. Interim coach Tyrone Corbin is 5-8 since replacing Malone. Corbin will coach out this season but it's highly unlikely he gets the full-time job. Ownership really wants advisor Chris Mullin to take the job, but Mulling said he didn't want to take it midseason. I would be shocked if he's not the coach next season.
Sacramento remains without two injured bench guys in Omri Casspi and Ramon Sessions. Casspi averages 7.9 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes, while Sessions averages 6.1 points and 2.5 assists in 17.1 minutes.
The Kings are 15-20-2 against the spread and 20-17 'over/under' on NBA odds.
Dallas hosted Sacramento on Nov. 11 as a 7.5-point favorite on NBA odds and just barely covered in a 106-98 victory ('under' the 205.5 total). It was the Mavericks' 21st straight home win over the Kings. Nowitzki had 23 points for Dallas on a night he passed Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA among players born outside the USA. Rudy Gay led the Kings with 26 points. Sacramento was up 44-20 with about eight minutes left in the second quarter before the wheels fell off. Dallas outscored the Kings 58-28 from that point until the end of the third quarter. It matched the Kings' largest blown lead this century and tied the third-biggest comeback win in Mavericks franchise history. The 21-game home winning streak is the longest for the Mavericks ever against one team. Overall, Dallas has won four straight and 19 of the last 21 regular-season meetings with the Kings.
NBA Free Picks: Kings +5 and 'under' 212 points at Pinnacle Sportsbook. Dallas is 1-9 ATS in its past 10 vs. the West. The Kings have covered four of the past five meetings. The 'under' is 4-0 in the past four.