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4 takeaways as the Sacramento Kings run past the Dallas Mavericks, 120-113

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Two straight losses for Dallas

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings ended the Dallas Mavericks home win streak at 11, running the team off the floor 120-113. De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield each scored 28 for the Kings while Luka Doncic led Dallas in defeat with 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Scoring came early and often for both teams, with the Kings jumping out to a fast start, followed by the Mavericks answering right back. The teams exchanged leads in a back-and-forth affair until Dirk Nowitzki entered the game around the three minute mark. Following a standing ovation, the Mavericks lost the lead but managed to stay close and trailed 34-31 as the quarter expired.

The pace slowed slightly in the second frame as a truly bizarre line up for Dallas containing Ryan Broekoff and Dirk Nowitzki helped tie the game. Dirk’s first basket of the season came off a hard drive and kick back from Wesley Matthews. The Dallas starters all eventually re-entered the game and for a time it felt as if the Mavericks might take the lead and hold it, as Doncic lived in the paint for repeated possessions. But the pace slowed for Dallas and the combination of too many isolation plays paired with complaining to the referees instead of getting back on defense resulted in the Kings pressing the advantage and taking a 61-58 lead into halftime.

The third frame was one of the more disjointed periods of basketball for Dallas this season. Harrison Barnes continued to struggle, forcing shots and doing little else, the Kings slowly built on their lead. A strange stretch from the bench unit saw Maxi Kleber become late stage Kobe Bryant, hoisting threes (he even made one!) and hit a tear drop runner. But Dallas could not stop the Kings in the paint and Sacramento led by double digits for parts of the quarter. Maxi Kleber free throws at the end of the quarter cut the lead to 10, and Dallas trailed 93-83 entering the fourth.

Dallas hung around for much of the quarter, with Luka Doncic scoring in a variety of ways. The Mavericks even cut the lead to five points with 1:45 remaining, but the decision to leave outmatched Jalen Brunson on De’Aaron Fox cost Dallas as Fox’s steady play guided the Kings through some tense possessions. After a short free throw shooting contest, the Mavericks lost 120-113.

THOUGHTS

Kirk’s side note: I’ve covered three straight games and I swear to you I want to write about different things, but the same mistakes plague Dallas in every loss. So if there’s some redundancy I apologize.

DeAndre Jordan is the root cause for much of the Maverick success and their failure

I’m going to write about this until something different actually happens. For the third straight game, DeAndre Jordan was a disinterested stat hunter and for back to back games, his lack of caring is why the Mavericks lost.

Don’t believe me? Defend this:

You’d be playing better defense than Jordan did for most of the game. Think that’s an isolated incident? Here’s another:

And let’s go with one more, just because I want to give maximum effort myself:

DeAndre Jordan gets away with things that Nerlens Noel would’ve been punted to the Legends for. It must be said that Jordan was key during the late attempt at a fourth quarter rally. BUT THAT’S BECAUSE HE TRIED HARD FOR A FEW STRAIGHT POSSESSIONS.

Effort produces results.

The offense with the starters bogs down for reasons which should be fixable

By now, it should be clear to everyone that Luka Doncic is the best offensive player for Dallas. But he cannot and should not do everything for the team. That said, I question the decision to force feed shot attempts to Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews.

I’ve harped on Barnes enough lately, but this was a game where nothing worked except the three ball which came from the result of ball movement by other players. He was 2 of 9 on two point shots and got blocked at the rim a lot.

The Matthews post ups are alright; he’s posting up about 10% of his possessions and scoring 1 point. Whereas Doncic is getting post ups for 3% of his possessions and is scoring 1.2 points. Luka doesn’t qualify due to lack of volume, but he’d be in the 90th percentile based on this kind of scoring. For comparison, Kevin Durant posts up 10% of his possessions and is scoring 1.23 points. Either I’m missing something obvious (very possible) or the Mavericks are continuing to run the offense as though either of these guys are on Doncic’s level.

Come back J.J.!

Two games without Barea, two losses. In those two games, the bench recorded seven total assists. Barea by himself has 5.4 helper per game.

The bench unit looks disjointed, with Powell seemingly missing his pick and roll buddy a great deal. Devin Harris has been fine, of course, but the non-starters had something working until the ankle sprain and Dallas needs him back sooner rather than later.

Three point woes

9 of 35 five is horrible. The aforementioned Barnes and Matthews were the only decent Mavericks in this regard; removing their 6 makes on 13 attempts, the rest of the team was a putrid 3 of 22 from distance. Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris in particular need to find their shot from distance,, if the Mavericks want to remain feisty.