by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings went into Dallas on Sunday with a chance to finish a three-game road with a winning record and hand the Mavericks their second loss to the Kings in 12 days at the American Airlines Center. Instead, the Kings never had a lead in the game, allowed the Mavericks to dominate from beyond the 3-point arc, did not support a 33-point performance by DeMarcus Cousins and lost the game 99-79.
The Kings (10-17) were coming off a big victory in Memphis on Friday night were they to had grind their way to a 96-92 win against a team that makes it living grinding the opposition down to defeat them. Momentum should have been with them as they faced a team they had destroyed just days earlier.
The Mavericks (7-20) were coming off a devastating loss in Utah on Friday night. Dallas had tied the game up at 100-all with seconds remaining. Deron Williams missed a shot that could have won the game for Dallas and Rodney Hood drove the ball into the frontcourt for the Jazz, pulled up hitting a 26-foot jump shot to give the Utah a 3-point lead with 0.8-seconds remaining. The Jazz won the game 103-100.
It appears the motivation of overcoming a loss was stronger than the motivation of establishing a winning streak on Sunday night.
New season low point total for the Kings
The final total of 79 points was a new season low for Sacramento. Why did the Kings score so few points? Poor shooting percentage would be the number one problem:
- The Kings shot 39.5-percent (30-for-76) from the floor. The odds of winning an NBA game really drop when a team shoots under 40-percent
- Converting just 8-of-31 (25.8-percent) 3-point shot opportunities. It is a 3-point league and a long-range shooting percentage in the 20s is going to make it tough to win
- Going just 11-for-17 (64.7-percent) from the free throw line. They call it the “charity stripe” for a reason. A team has to take advantage of those uncontested shots. The small total of 17 attempts tells you that the Kings did not drive it to the basket enough in the game
Lack of scorers in double figures for Sacramento
The Kings had only two players post totals in double figures on Sunday night. DeMarcus Cousins put up 33 points while shooting 50-percent from the field. He also recorded nine rebounds. Ty Lawson was the only other Kings player to score in double figures in support of Cousins big effort. Lawson scored 10 points off the bench.
Sacramento had only two players who had scored more than three points at the half.
By contrast, the Mavericks had six players post scoring totals in double figures. Four of the five Dallas starters scored in double digits. Former King Seth Curry scored 13 points coming off the bench for the Mavs.
The Mavericks guards dominated the backcourt play
Dallas guards outscored the Sacramento guards 57-17 in the game. The Mavericks guards helped lead a 44.2-percent (34-for-77) shooting barrage that included hitting 13-of-33 shots from 3-point land.
A major loss of momentum for the Kings
A win in Dallas would have given the Kings a winning record on the three-game road trip. Now the Kings come home on Tuesday to face a Portland team that they have already lost to once this season before heading back out on the road for two more games before Christmas.
The Kings then have to go to Utah on Wednesday night for second game of a back-to-back set. They lost 104-84 on their last visit to Salt Lake City.
After facing Utah, the Kings have to travel to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Friday night. The T-Wolves have won just seven games this season but so has Dallas. Plus, we know that the road is a very fickle place in the NBA.
The Kings will need Gay and Casspi back
Sacramento was without Rudy Gay (right hip flexor strain) and Omri Casspi (illness) for the second consecutive game on Sunday night. The Kings could use the firepower of both players back in their lineup on Tuesday when they face the Trail Blazers.