The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Sacramento Kings after a valiant second quarter comeback that had them competitive for the rest of the game. The Kings were able to hit just enough big shots from players such as rookie Tyrese Haliburton andm third year player Chimezie Metu, while the Mavericks stopped putting points up down the stretch.
This was the second loss to the Kings this season, the first coming only eight days ago, and both were pretty brutal to watch as a Mavericks fan. The Kings’ length at every position bothered Luka and forced some terrible three-pointers, and the Mavericks missed enough of them to hand the Kings a win on their second night of a back-to-back.
Here are four numbers that explain the loss:
20-3: The Kings went up 20-3 in the first six minutes of the game.
At this point, the god awful starts to games are almost to be expected. The discrepancy was certainly a product of poor shooting, as the Mavericks went 0-of-6 from three in that stretch while the Kings started 4-of-5 from distance. But Dallas’ overall rhythm looked off, which is a shame considering they had a rest advantage over the Kings who were fresh and active. The Mavericks outscored the Kings during the other 42 minutes of the game, but putting themselves into such a huge hole meant it didn’t matter.
28.8%: Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. are shooting a combined 19-for-66 since Hardaway became a starter.
Minus the two Lakers victories, the funk that the Mavericks have been in stretching back to their loss to the Rockets on April 7 can be largely attributed to a huge drop-off in production from their bench one-two punch. Tim Hardaway Jr. in particular has completely lost his shot, which is a very bad recipe considering his let-it-fly attitude.
Jalen Brunson also missed key mid-range jumpers tonight that he usually makes with consistency, continuing his rough stretch over the last few weeks. The cause for his troubles is more explainable, as he is a score-first shooting guard in too big a role recently. Hopefully Hardaway and Brunson are getting their misses out of the way and will shoot the lights out in the playoffs (or play-ins).
2: Luka Doncic had 2 field goal attempts at the rim tonight.
Historically, Doncic’s greatest strength has been his ability to maneuver around the defense with a cocktail of moves that gets him to the rim. As with the other Kings game, as well as a loss to the Kings last season when the Mavericks were at full strength, he struggled mightily to do so tonight. Kings defender Maurice Harkless played spectacular man defense on Doncic, and on the few occasions Luka did get by him, the Kings quickly collapsed and let any of the Mavericks shooters try to beat them instead. He has averaged about five rim-attempts per game this season, a testament to the lock-down defense by Mo Harkless.
7: The Mavericks came within three points of the Kings 7 times in the second half.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the contest was the Kings’ ability to respond to every single Mavericks push. Dallas only had the lead on two occasions the entire game and both lasted less than 30 seconds. Every time, a Kings player would step up and hit a big shot or make a key defensive play that created easy offense.
The Mavericks host the Kings next week for a final matchup between the two teams this season. Hopefully the Mavericks will have Kristaps Porzingis and Josh Richardson back, who are both needed to take some of the ball handling and scoring pressure of Doncic. But the Kings will also likely have De’Aaron Fox back, as well as Harrison Barnes who left tonight’s game early with a groin injury.
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