Dallas started out in a funk and never recovered.
Editor’s note: we had a scheduling misunderstanding, so two people wrote recaps. I’m posting both.
The Mavericks slept walked out of the gates allowing the Kings to rally together an 8-0 run, and Dallas played catch up the rest of the way. The Mavericks allowed the Kings to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers.
Dallas was also a victim of playing within the Kings’ game flow. Sacramento owned a 25-4 advantage on the break and scored 56 paint points compared to Dallas’ 42.
The Mavericks were led by Luka Doncic’s 37 points, eight rebounds and four assists, but De’Aaron Fox’s 30 points and 12 assists were too much for Dallas to overcome.
Here are a few notes from the game:
A round of applause for Dorian Finney-Smith
Until the early stages of the fourth quarter, Finney-Smith led Dallas in points scored with 19, and if you would have told me this would happen before the game started, I would have told you all of Doncic, Porzingis, and probably even Tim Hardaway Jr. got abducted by aliens right before tipoff. That’s not a knock on the Mavericks’ utility player, but things would need to go horribly wrong with the primary scorers, and that’s pretty much what happened for most of the game.
Nonetheless, in a game most Mavericks’ didn’t care to show up for, Finney-Smith had arguably his best offensive performance. He hit several shots in the first half when buckets were impossible to come by, and though it didn’t translate to a competitive first half, it’s refreshing to know Finney-Smith’s effort never wanes no matter what’s going on with the team.
Asleep for most of the game, Doncic turned on the jets in the fourth, but it wasn’t quite enough. Doncic cashed in 22 of his 37 points in the final frame essentially playing one-on-five on offense. I don’t know if it was warranted, but it was painfully obvious no other player was involved as Doncic splashed in step-back jumpers or barreled down the lane laying the ball in the cup. It was a spirited effort, but the team couldn’t get stops on the defensive end to make the efforts count.
And it’s not like the team gave any indication they’d be ready to flip the switch in the fourth. Porzingis had nine points on a pathetic 3-of-14 shooting, though he had only one attempt in the entire fourth quarter (28-foot triple). Maxi Kleber scored zero, Josh Richardson had only seven points, and Hardaway was 2-for-10. The aforementioned Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson were the only ones to put any pressure on the Kings offensively, so I guess Doncic did what he had to do.
This was an embarrassing loss
Groundbreaking analysis, I know. But once again, the Mavericks have been the team struggling teams get right by playing. The Rockets and Spurs ended their skids against the Mavericks, and now the Kings, who lost nine straight, whipped the Mavericks from the opening tip. Dallas set their tone by going 1-of-10 from deep in the first, and then they dug their grave by allowing the Kings to pour in 45 second-quarter points. Doncic was flustered, Porzingis struggled, and three-fifths of the starting lineup failed to provide any punch once again. This was the cherry on top of a miserable five-game stretch that the Mavericks very well could have lost all five had Doncic not hit a miracle three-point attempt at the buzzer against Memphis.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.