Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks try to maintain perfect summer in Thursday’s clash with Kings

Guard De’Aaron Fox, the fifth pick in last month’s draft, leads the Sacramento Kings against the Dallas Mavericks in Thursday’s Las Vegas summer league playoff tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Guard De’Aaron Fox, the fifth pick in last month’s draft, leads the Sacramento Kings against the Dallas Mavericks in Thursday’s Las Vegas summer league playoff tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2. AP

The Dallas Mavericks venture into the Las Vegas summer league playoff pool Thursday when they meet the Sacramento Kings at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

The third-seeded Mavericks, who are 3-0 in Las Vegas after winning the Orlando summer league with a 5-0 record, meet a Kings team that outscored the Milwaukee Bucks 69-65 in Wednesday’s first-round pairing of 0-3 teams.

Sacramento cracked the win column behind 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocks from 2015 first-round draft pick Skal Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 Haitian forward who averaged 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 33 games for the Kings last season. Teammate Georgios Papagiannis, a 7-1 center and 2016 first-round selection, added 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Wednesday’s most entertaining game was the Los Angeles Lakers’ 103-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers as guard Lonzo Ball dazzled with 36 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and five steals in his first game since Monday’s 11-11-11 triple-double in a win over the Kings.

Sacramento should get offensive help Thursday against the Mavericks from a trio of big-game guards in former Oklahoma standout Buddy Hield (16.7 points), Kentucky flash De’Aaron Fox (15.7) and Kansas floor leader Frank Mason (8.5), who combined for 58 points in the Kings’ 95-92 loss to the Lakers in the final game before tournament play.

Hield, the 2016 college player of the year, sat out Wednesday via coach’s decision, while Fox watched in street clothes with a minor ankle injury and Mason was limited to four minutes despite starting.

Sacramento also features North Carolina rookie forward Justin Jackson, a former Houston high school sensation taken 15th overall in the 2017 draft, and 6-7 Dominican guard Luis Montero, who scored 16 points last week for the Mavericks in a rout of Oklahoma City that sent Dallas to the Orlando championship game.

The Mavericks have been led by rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. who is averaging 18.3 points, six rebounds, five assists and 2.3 blocks through three games in Las Vegas. Second-year guard Yogi Ferrell is next on the scoring list at 15 points a game, including 23 in Tuesday’s win against Miami.

Thursday’s eight winners advance to the league’s quarterfinal round on Saturday. The semifinals are on Sunday with the championship game set for Monday.

The Mavericks signed their top draft pick Dennis Smith Jr. to a 4-year rookie contract Wednesday which would pay the standout point guard around $2.7 Million per season in the first two years. Dallas holds team options on the 3rd and 4th years.

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