The Dallas Mavericks lost two straight close games heading into this daytime contest with the Kings. They were looking to avoid a three-game losing streak, which would be their longest losing streak this season.
The Kings got off to a hot start, jumping out to an eight point lead in two minutes. Sacramento got out to a ten point lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to their 9-for-16 shooting from deep. Compare that to a struggling Dallas unit that went just 1-for-6. The second quarter started with three Luka Doncic turnovers in just 20 seconds. It was a slow and sloppy quarter for both teams. Luckily with a nice seven point quarter from Tim Hardaway Jr. and the Kings blanking from deep, the Mavericks pulled back into the game. A combined 32 points from Doncic and Porzingis helped Dallas get to within four at the break.
As the second half began, Doncic became more aggressive in attacking the paint. But the Kings quickly slowed down the rhythm by attacking the inside themselves. Only one three made in the quarter hurt the Mavericks chances to get any closer. The Kings entered the fourth quarter with a seven point lead. A quick burst from the Mavericks helped pull the game within five to start the fourth. After that it was a back-and-forth dog fight led by Doncic. With Porzingis fouling out at the four minute mark, Doncic did all he did to put his team in front. A last second shot from Fox didn’t fall, and the game went into overtime. A quick Hardaway Jr. three helped Dallas get their first lead since two minutes into the first quarter. An excellent defense possession from Kleber which he responded to by knocking down a three pushed the lead to five. A tip-in by Finney-Smith pushed it to seven, and time was running out for the Kings. A game of catch-up didn’t end well for Sacramento, and Dallas wins their first game in the restart.
The Mavericks can win close games
Would you look at that — the Dallas Mavericks won a close one. When overtime started, it looked like it was going to be the Kings’ game as they quickly made a couple of shots in a row. But after those shots, the defense really stepped up, forcing three straight misses when it mattered most. Kleber had an incredible defensive possession that he turned into three points, Finney-Smith made some clutch free throws, and we’re all left smiling.
Luka saves the day!
A utility full fourth quarter by Doncic helped Dallas get the game into overtime. Despite only scoring two points in the quarter, he had four assists and eight rebounds. His creation for Finney-Smith who had eight in the quarter helped the Mavericks facilitate the offense they needed to climb back into the game. Doncic had an absolutely incredible game, filling the stat sheet with one of his best games this season. He had 34 points, a season high 20 rebounds, and 12 assists.
Who’s the third option going to be?
The Dallas Mavericks desperately need someone to step-up outside of Porzingis and Doncic. In the Houston game it was Trey Burke with 31 points. In the Phoenix game it was Seth Curry with 16 points. In this game it was Tim Hardaway Jr. with 22 points. There has been a lot of inconsistency, and it almost cost the Mavericks three games. Maxi Kleber, Delon Wright, and Dorian Finney-Smith have been inconsistent at best thus far. This team needs someone who can show up and score. That’s it. It would help if they played defense, or got shot the three consistently, but most importantly, there is a desperate need for a consistent scorer of any kind on the offense. We saw just how much of an impact Finney-Smith had in the fourth quarter and Kleber in overtime. If someone can step up like that, the Mavericks will be in really good shape.
Porzingis turns up the aggression
Many of us have been itching to see Porzingis become more aggressive and confident with his shooting. In the first half, he did just that. When his shots weren’t going in, he put the ball down and went to the basket. In the first half he shot a rough 27.3 percent from the field, but he got to the free throw line nine times. Porzingis is a good enough shooter to call his own number when he’s open. A lack of hesitation could prove to make him much more effective in catch and shoot. As he adjusted to the new aggression, he had a really off day in this one. Entering this game, he had shot 50 percent in the bubble. He only shot 33 percent from the field today, but still managed to score 22 points. If he can find a rhythm with this aggression, he can really offer some good offense. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to work today.
Seth Curry is missed early
Curry was inactive for this content due to right leg soreness, and he sure was missed. The Mavericks had been averaging 79 points in the first half during their first two games in the restart. In this game the offense slowed down tremendously, scoring just 56 points in the first half. Curry’s absence really hurt the Mavericks’ spacing as Barea got the start.
Barea is not an off-ball threat offensively, which voids one of the Mavericks’ scoring threats. This team already lacks a depth on the perimeter, and Curry’s absence really hurt their offensive rhythm. Hopefully he’s well rested for the Mavericks next game against the Clippers.
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.