Time: 5 p.m.

Place: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento.

TV: Bally Sports Southwest.

Radio: The Eagle 97.1 FM; Univision Zona MX 99.1 FM (Spanish)

About the Mavericks: They have not been three games below .500 this season and the significance of this game cannot be overstated. A loss would drop them to 16-19 and they would be just a game ahead of the Kings, who presently are the 11th seed in the Western Conference and would not make the playoffs. A win level their record on this trip at 2-2 and would springboard them into 2022 with some good momentum . . . It would also take the sting away from the buzzer-beating loss on Wednesday when Kings’ forward Chimezie Metu nailed a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired to beat the Mavericks 95-94 . . . The problem in that game? The Mavericks could muster only 94 points against a team that allows an average of 113.8, 28th in the league. Yes, the Mavericks are without some of their best offensive players, but even though they kept the pace slow against the uptempo Kings, they could not generate enough points to win . . . It remains to be seen if they will regain the services of any of their seven players who have been in health and safety protocols. Reggie Bullock was cleared and joined the team on Wednesday, but was not active. Presumably, he’ll be available Friday. The status of Luka Dončić, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Boban Marjanovic, Brandon Knight, Trey Burke and JaQuori McLaughlin? All of them remain out for Friday’s game. In addition, newcomer Isaiah Thomas has been added to the health and safety protocols list . . . Add on Willie Cauley-Stein (personal matter) and they remain very shorthanded.

About the Kings: They are challenged on the defensive end, but there is no denying that they have put together one of the best young backcourts in the NBA. Second-year shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton is handling more and more of the ballhandling duties and, along with De’Aaron Fox, the point guard who is only 24 and already in his fifth season, make up a dynamic tandem. Fox averages 20.5 points and 5.1 assists. Haliburton averages 13.5 points and 6.6 assists. The Kings also have rookie Davion Mitchell, who was leading Baylor to the NCAA championship last season and has been a strong addition in his first season. He’s averaging 9.8 points and has a reputation as a strong perimeter defender, which the Kings need . . . That threesome has pushed Buddy Hield into a sixth-man role, perhaps the reason why the rest of the NBA is interested in the sharpshooter should the Kings elect make changes with their roster . . . And, of course, the Kings still have former Maverick Harrison Barnes as their veteran leader, averaging 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds . . . The Kings actually are 9-10 since Alvin Gentry took over for Luke Walton as coach. Conversely the Mavericks are 7-14 since starting out 9-4 . . . Defensively, the game Wednesday was one of the best of the season for the Kings. It was just the fourth time they’ve held a team below 100 points and only the second time since Nov. 7.

Twitter: @ESefko

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