The Dallas Mavericks lost 133-128 to the Sacramento Kings Saturday night in Sacramento The game was extremely competitive and fun. However, the Mavericks struggled to integrate Luka Doncic back into the more free-flowing offense they have developed over the last three games. The Mavericks took a lead into halftime after a furious run to close the half. Then they took a late lead in the fourth quarter but were unable to hold it. Finally they simply could not come up with enough stops in overtime to win the game.
Here are the things to know:
The Mavericks need to continue to attack
While Doncic was away, the Mavericks empowered multiple ball handlers. This allowed them to create more efficient looks when things did not immediately open up. Tonight, the Mavericks were a little less Doncic-centric than they have been at times, but there was clearly an adjustment. The Mavs took 51 threes and 40 twos. This is not your father’s NBA.
High volume three point shooting is a positive. Three point shots are efficient. Shooting 67.5 percent on twos is incredibly efficient too. The Mavericks are always going to be reliant on making three point shots. But they need to be willing to take more twos when a defense is conceding such great shots like tonight.
Jaden Hardy has a ways to go
Hardy was not good tonight. One might even go so far as to argue that the 15 points the Mavericks were outscored by in his 17 minutes were a large factor in the loss. That is fine. The Mavericks are going to have live with some of his mistakes as they allow him to learn. Hardy has legitimate upside and the Mavericks need to develop that. Jason Kidd has a history of developing young players and Hardy looks like his next project.
The Mavericks have to figure out how to use Christian Wood
Wood remains an enigma. He is incredibly talented. He had 15 points in 18 minutes tonight. He carried the offense early in the fourth quarter while Doncic rested. And yet he has fallen so far down in the rotation that embedded podcaster Theo Pinson has played roughly the same amount of minutes recently (Pinson played eight fewer minutes than Wood tonight).
Wood has limitations that do not fit Kidd’s preferred style. Since the Mavericks did not trade him, they have to use him. It is unfair to both the player and the team to do this. They simply have to figure out a way to utilize him in a way that befits his talent without taking away from the team concept.
Overall, splitting a two game series in Sacramento cannot be that upsetting. The Kings are a very good team. This was a good starting point for Doncic and Irving playing together. They will only get better.
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