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4 thoughts after the Dallas Mavericks comeback and win against the Sacramento Kings, 114-113

No Luka Doncic? No problem.

Sacramento Kings v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks won their fourth straight game Saturday evening, defeating the Sacramento Kings at home, 114-113. Spencer Dinwddie led all Mavericks with 36 points and 7 assists. De’Aaron Fox poured in 44 points in defeat for the Kings.

Playing without Luka Doncic and with an odd start time, the Mavericks looked lethargic and lost early in the game on both ends of the floor. Dallas eventually found some offense, but couldn’t stop the Kings in any way and found themselves trailing 36-26 after a quarter. The Dallas defense stayed missing-in-action for the second frame as well, with multiple Mavericks picking up fouls. This forced Jason Kidd to go very small and despite finally making a dent into a huge Kings lead, Dallas gave up a buzzer beating three from De’Aaron Fox and went into halftime down 65-51.

Dallas made up some ground finally in the third quarter, stringing together a number of stops in the second half of the period and worked the Sacramento lead down to five points a couple of times. A last second drive extended the Kings lead up to seven and the Mavericks entered the final quarter down 92-85. The Mavericks finally took the lead minutes into the quarter but the remainder of the frame was a wildly contested back and forth affair, highlighted by lead changes, horrendous refereeing, and big play after big play. After falling down by 7 with 2:55 remaining, Dallas stormed all the way back to take the lead with 46 seconds left on a Dinwiddie lay in. Following a Fox free throw, Dorian Finney-Smith connected on a game winning three with 3.8 seconds left, and after a too-late lay up, Dallas walked away with a 114-113 lead.

Trusting the process on defense

The calling card of the 2022 Mavericks has been a commitment to defense. Though it’s waxed and waned at points, they’ve been able to string together solid defense often enough to where it’s pulled them through games they’ve lost in the past. Though they gave up 65 first half points to the Kings and were dealing with a variety of foul problems and a short bench, in the second half they buckled down and held the Kings to 48 points, including 21 in the fourth.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Jalen Brunson, driving the offense

Watching Dinwiddie play basketball is a delight. While there’s some merit to the argument that he’s on a heck of a hot streak, I don’t particularly care because the Mavericks are winning. Dinwiddie’s drives kept Dallas in this game again as well as his march to the line (13 free throws attempted). His 36 points on just 22 attempts is really impressive.

Pairing that with Jalen Brunson’s consistency and the Mavericks found a recipe to ride out a game without Luka Doncic. Though I think we’d all like to see Brunson shoot more threes when he’s open, his herky jerky play and ability to drive is what allowed the Mavericks to get that great game winning look for Dorian Finney-Smith. The two combined for 58 points and 13 assists along with 18 free throws. It was a great back court performance.

Josh Green, agent of chaos

It’s important to note this right off the bat: Josh Green was a key spark in both this comeback win and the one last Sunday over the Warriors. His energy can lead to extra possessions and it feels like other teams (and sometimes the Mavericks themselves) have no idea what he’s going to do. He posted his first career double-double, according to the broadcast, with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Six of those boards were offensive and in a game where the Kings outrebounded Dallas, this was huge.

Game winners are good

Top notch analysis, I know. But I want to mention it again, as Dorian’s been on fire and it’s helping the Mavericks when they need it most. Finney-Smith hit a three in the opening minutes of the fourth then missed his next five shots. Now, those long time Mavs fans know there are games where Dorian shoots five times total, so five misses in a quarter felt like a harbinger. Then he hit a three to pull Dallas within one at the 1:14 mark and followed that up with the game winner with 3.8 seconds left. Just an awesome stretch of basketball.

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.