On Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks extended its home winning streak over the Sacramento Kings to 16 games with a strong bench effort that propped up a 110-100 victory. The Mavs' prolonged dominance over the Kings represents the third-longest active home winning streak over a single opponent in the NBA, behind only the Phoenix Suns' 25-year reign of terror over the Milwaukee Bucks (24 straight games) and the San Antonio Spurs' mastery of the Golden State Warriors (27 consecutive wins). In the latest iteration of this trend, Dallas dug a hole immediately after the opening tip, regained control in the second quarter with help from Vince Carter, Rodrigue Beaubois, Brandon Wright and Yi Jianlian, and then never relinquished the lead in the final 24 minutes.
While most of the chatter surrounding the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday centered around news that owner Mark Cuban confronted Lamar Odom in the locker room at halftime during of Saturday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies (right before the team moved Odom to the inactive list for the remainder of the season), the Mavs found a measure of joy in the fact that Jason Kidd returned to the starting lineup after missing four games with a groin injury. The 17-year veteran started quickly with three of his six points and two of his game-high seven assists in the opening quarter, but none of his Dallas starters front-loaded their evening.
In fact, the Kings attacked the paint from inception -- they scored 18 points on 9-13 shooting in the paint during the first quarter -- which prompted quick timeouts from Rick Carlisle as they mounted an 8-2 advantage and then a 14-7 margin. DeMarcus Cousins opened the game 4-4 in the first six minutes and appeared primed for one of those truly spectacular nights, but he slowed his roll on offense and instead settled on just an eye-popping double-double that featured 25 points on 11-21 shooting and 18 rebounds and paired well with a career-high five steals.
Sacramento played opportunistic basketball in the early going. Isiah Thomas (16 points, five assists, four rebounds) and company pushed the pace and raced into transition as the Mavs committed nine turnovers in the first 16 minutes. Then Carlisle turned to the bench for a spark that changed the complexion of the game. In the second period, Beaubois stepped up with seven of his 15 points and both of his assists, while NBA prospect turned bench bum Yi Jianlian paid off pick-and-pops and drive-and-kicks with 4-4 shooting and all eight of his points during his stint. Jimmer Fredette eight of his 15 during an impressive run, but even he couldn't prevent Dallas from claiming a 32-23 victory in the second quarter.
After halftime, the Kings never quite moved within striking distance again. Tyreke Evans (16 points, five assists) pulled the margin down to four midway through the third, but that's as close as Sacramento ever came. Shawn Marion helped protect the lead by grabbing eight offensive rebounds en route to a 10-point, 14-rebound double-double, while Dirk Nowitzki (15 points, eight rebounds) and Delonte West (13 points) back-loaded their respective efforts to pace the offense. As expected, Dallas used its experience to hold off any runs and finished up with a 110-100 win.
With the victory, Dallas tightened its grip on the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference playoff bracket and is now 0.5 game up on the Houston Rockets for the final seed and 1.5 games ahead of the Phoenix Suns.
For more information on the Dallas Mavericks, check out Mavs Moneyball. Kings news and analysis is available at Sactown Royalty. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA Basketball page.
For all of Tuesday's NBA box scores, check out SI.com's NBA scoreboard.