The Mavericks rolled out the red carpet for Domantas Sabonis and any other Sacramento King with ideas about driving through the lane Sunday, offering little in the way of defensive resistance in a 129-113 loss at the American Airlines Center.
It was the Mavericks’ second loss in a row, the first time this year Dallas has dropped two straight, and it came on the second night of a back-to-back stint, after Saturday’s 132-125 loss at the Milwaukee Bucks. Dallas looked gassed on its home court toward the end of the third quarter after battling back from an early seven-point deficit to take a one-point lead after one and from a nine-point deficit in the second quarter, to draw within 70-65 at halftime.
Sabonis led all scorers with a season-high 32 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and dished six assists, dominating the Mavs’ frontcourt for all of his 35 minutes played. Dallas also had no answer for Kings point guard DeAaron Fox, who finished the game with 30 points and seven assists.
Here are four stats that tell the tale of how Sacramento was able to control the game and pull away late.
14: Kings offensive rebounds
The Kings out-rebounded the Mavericks in this one 53-48, and their advantage on the offensive glass was 14-11. Though that doesn’t necessarily look dominant on paper, when you look at the rebounding quarter-by-quarter, you can tell the Kings really wore the Mavericks out in the second and third quarters.
The Kings nabbed six offensive boards in the second quarter and three more in the third, and Dallas recorded just three offensive rebounds in that same span. The extra possessions earned through tough work in the paint were back-breaking as the Mavs fought to keep things close.
And what comes right after an opponent’s offensive rebound? Well, if you’re a Mavericks fan, you’re seeing offensive rebounds being converted immediately into buckets against the Dallas frontcourt at an alarming rate. The Kings scored 22 second-chance points from their 14 offensive rebounds on Sunday and held the Mavericks to just six. In the second quarter, the deficiency on the boards and on defense was even more stark, as the Kings outscored the Mavs 12-0 on second-chance opportunities.
Dallas was 29th in the NBA last season in second-chance points, and in the early part of this year, they have improved on that disparity, coming into the matchup with the Kings at plus-4 in second-chance points for the season, which was 13th in the league. After getting owned by the Kings, Dallas is now minus-12.
58: Kings points in the paint
We’re just 14 games into the season, and we sound like a broken record already. The Kings’ pronounced advantage on the offensive boards was coupled with a startling lack of toughness from the Dallas’ defense, allowing blow-by after blow-by from Sabonis, Fox and wing Keegan Murray, who added 17 points for Sacramento. It all led to a decided 58-46 advantage scoring in the lane for the Kings.
The Mavericks came into the game having given up the second-most points in the paint in the NBA and put themselves in an awkward position by allowing the Kings such easy offense. In the first half, they were depending on their own 3-point shooting just to stay in the game at all.
13-4: Kings run in the third quarter that blew the game open
If the Kings’ dominance inside wasn’t enough to wrench the stomachs of Mavs fans, the game’s decisive run at the end of the third quarter was keyed by Sacramento’s outside shooting. Murray assisted on two Malik Monk 3-pointers in the last 1:16 of the frame and then nailed his own with three seconds left in the third to expand the Kings’ lead from 94-92 to 107-96.
17: Kings made three pointers
Aside from their clear advantage inside, the Kings beat the Mavericks all game where the Mavericks have usually torched opponents this season: at the 3-point line. The Kings went from 17-of-40 from deep against the Mavs, or 42.5%. Dallas was just 12-of-34, or 35.3%, and were 0-of-9 in the fourth quarter.
Fox went 6-of-10 from 3-point territory against the Mavs, and Monk went 4-for-6 as well.
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