The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Sacramento Kings on the road Friday night, 112-96. Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavericks with an extremely efficient 24 points, 9 rebounds, and six assists in just 33 minutes. Tyrese Haliburton did most of his damage early, but managed to lead the Kings with 17 points.
Dallas gave up six three pointers to the Kings in the opening quarter but managed to pull out of a double digit deficient in the final minute after Sacramento made a series of boneheaded decisions on offense. Dallas found themselves down 39-34 after the first quarter. The positive end to the first frame continued into the second with the Mavericks quickly gaining a lead. Sacramento took the lead right back as Tyrese Haliburton continued making big shots. The two teams traded leads for a good chunk of the quarter only for Dallas to pull ahead by six in the final minute. The Mavericks were up 62-56 at the half.
Sacramento managed to tie the game early in the third, but four straight ally oop dunks from Dwight Powell opened the the flood gates for 24-2 run which broke the game wide open. The Mavericks would take a 94-76 lead into the final frame. The Kings tried to make a run in the fourth, cutting the lead down to 13, but the Mavericks proved too much for Sacramento to handle. Both coaches cleared the benches by the four minute mark and the Mavericks would end 2021 with a 112-96 win.
Now, some thoughts:
Kristaps Porzingis and free throws
Hitting six of seven free throws against the Kings gave Porzingis 121 makes on 137 attempts in the 2021-22 season to date, good for 88%. More importantly, he’s up to 5.2 attempts per game. If the season ended today, that would be the most per game he’s attempted in a season since joining the Mavericks and would be the second highest of his career.
And beyond that, his free through rate (FTr) is through the roof. For those unaware, it’s the number of free throws divided by the number of shot attempts a player takes per game. Last season, his rate was just .202, an ablysmal rate considering how much he shot. This year it’s at a career high at the moment at .323.
This has really helped Porzingis stay relatively efficient despite his current three point shooting woes. He’s attacking the basket more, both off of post ups and on cuts where he feels nearly unstoppable at times.
The energetic stylings of Marquese Chriss
Watching Chriss play basketball in his role with the Dallas Mavericks is really fun and that’s because he plays hard and does what is within his skill range at all times. In his short time with the Mavericks, Chriss has become a hardcore fan favorite. The sheer volume of direct messages, texts, and tweets I get about how he positively impacts the game speaks to how some fans appreciate seeing something different out of the Dallas big man rotation.
Chriss fell out of the league for a variety of reasons, but so far with Dallas he’s made a strong case for another chance.
Dallas is the better team
Part of what made the last loss to Sacramento so maddening is even with a depleted roster, it was obvious that Dallas was the superior squad. The second quarter in that game made it closer than it had any business being and the terrible offense down the stretch in the fourth allowed the Kings to hang around too long. Tonight, the Mavericks had no such issues, and closed the door on the Kings quickly.
Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.