Sacramento Kings

Why Kings will be shorthanded in back-to-back road games at Dallas, Minnesota

Rookie forward Marvin Bagley III (35) alerts the Kings’ bench after spraining his knee against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, Dec. 14, 2018, at Golden 1 Center. The team said Bagley would be re-evaluated in 10-14 days.
Rookie forward Marvin Bagley III (35) alerts the Kings’ bench after spraining his knee against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, Dec. 14, 2018, at Golden 1 Center. The team said Bagley would be re-evaluated in 10-14 days. hamezcua@sacbee.com

The Kings will get their first look at Luka Doncic when they visit the Dallas Mavericks in the first of back-to-back road games, but one of the season’s most hotly anticipated rookie showdowns will have to wait.

The Kings (15-13) will play the Mavericks (15-12) on Sunday before traveling north to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves (13-15) on Monday. Sacramento has beaten Minnesota twice this season but has yet to play Dallas.

Many had marked Sunday’s game on their calendars as the first matchup between Doncic and fellow rookie Marvin Bagley III, but Bagley suffered a bone bruise in his left knee in the Kings’ 130-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. He left the game in the third quarter and did not return. The team said he will be reevaluated in 10 to 14 days.

The Kings selected Bagley with the second pick in June’s NBA Draft. The Mavericks acquired Doncic, who was drafted third, in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

Bagley is averaging 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. Doncic averages 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds.

The Mavericks are coming off a humbling 99-89 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, but they had won five of six and 12 of 15, including impressive victories over the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets. Harrison Barnes leads the team in scoring at 17.9 points per game.

The Timberwolves have lost three in a row and four of six since mounting a four-game winning streak in late November. They lost to the Kings 141-130 on Wednesday in Sacramento and were scheduled to visit the Suns on Saturday night.

Karl-Anthony Towns averages 21.5 points and 11.8 rebounds for Minnesota. Derrick Rose averages 18.5 points and 4.5 assists.

The Kings could also be without small forward Iman Shumpert, who suffered a left hip contusion in the third quarter against Golden State. The Kings said Saturday that Shumpert is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

The Kings rank fifth in the NBA in scoring at 115.6 points per game. They are tied for the league lead in 3-point shooting at 39.1 percent and have moved up to 22nd in 3-point attempts at 29.1 per contest after firing 151 long balls in their last four games.

Sacramento has averaged 124.7 points over its last three contests, but coach Dave Joerger said the Kings must improve defensively after allowing 130 each to the Warriors and Timberwolves.

“Guys (have) got to get better at it, just guarding the basketball one-on-one,” Joerger said. “As they get older and more experienced, and bigger, stronger, faster, hopefully we’ll have that opportunity.”

Jason Anderson: 916-321-1363, @JandersonSacBee
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