Sometimes it’s too little too late.
The game started exactly how you would think a 6 pm Sunday evening game would, except Sacramento didn’t get the memo. Both Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica came out hot, combining for 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting...at the half.
The Mavericks simply weren’t keeping pace early, relying heavily on a great first half from Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 17 points and was 5-of-7 from three before halftime.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where the Mavericks came roaring back. Going down by as much as 24 points early, the Mavericks outscored the Kings by 16 in the second half. Cutting it all the way down to two points with 13 seconds remaining, Luka Doncic got a spinning, fading, look from the middle of the lane but couldn’t get it to fall. The Mavericks fell to the Kings 110-106.
Buddy and Bjelica
It was all Buddy Hield and Nemanja Bjelica, who combined for 56 points on 23-of-33 shooting. For long stretches it looked like the Mavericks weren’t even interested in making either player uncomfortable, and they both made them pay.
Whether it was running under screens or giving space to drive, the Mavericks weren’t making proper adjustments. It wasn’t until the middle of the second half when Rick Carlisle opted to play zone that Sacramento looked at all uncomfortable. These two going off isn’t concerning, what is concerning was the lack of defensive intensity and miscommunication.
Tim the Shooter
Tim Hardaway Jr.’s shooting kept the Mavericks even remotely in this game for long stretches. He finished the game with 29 points, hitting 9-of-12 three pointers. And it looks like Hardaway is acclimating quite nicely to his starter role.
In eight starts this season he’s averaging nearly 19 points while shooting a jaw-dropping 53-percent from three. Hardaway is playing within himself, has been a ready-shooter, and is playing with great energy. The season is long, and the sample may still be small, but he’s certainly been a pleasant surprise in this new role.
Luka passing legends
With 27 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, Luka passed Michael Jordan with 19 consecutive games notching 20 points, five rebounds, five assists. He trails only Oscar Robertson on that list.
It may feel like a broken record as it seems nightly Luka Doncic is passing legends and breaking records. Still it’s important to check in, even in a loss, to remind ourselves how remarkable Doncic truly has been. Even in an off-night as a team after a long week, Luka is wildly impressive.
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.