Doncic and Prozingis lead the Mavs to a 130-111 win over the Kings in “Big D”

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings wanted to close out their short two-game road trip on a high note by handing the Dallas Mavericks (33-22) a loss on their homecourt heading into the All-Star Break. The Kings (21-33) knew they would have a big task on their hands because All-Starter Luka Doncic was going to make his return to the lineup after missing the previous seven games due to an ankle injury.

The Doncic Factor

For the rest of his career, Luka Doncic will always be tied to the Sacramento Kings in a bad way. Almost everyone associated with the NBA expected the Kings to draft Doncic because of his Euro pedigree and the Euro leanings of the Sacramento front office. When that did not happen, most experts and analysts were shocked. Now that Doncic is on the verge of becoming a real superstar, the decision to pass Doncic in the draft has become magnified.

Every Doncic success will be viewed as a Sacramento failure because they could have drafted Luka with their number two pick in 2018. Doncic will start the All-Star game on Sunday and he could have done that as a Sacramento King.

On Tuesday night, Doncic was the leading scorer in the game putting up 33 points to go along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

Some will say that Doncic will always be in the mood to punish the Kings. Do not believe that rubbish. Doncic does not care about the Kings. He is very happy playing for billionaire Mark Cuban in Dallas who will spend whatever is necessary to put the players around him to win an NBA Championship.

Lack of defense

The Kings allowed the Mavericks to score at least 30 points in all four quarters of the game on Wednesday night. They allowed Dallas to shoot 56.5% from the field in the game. The Mavs hit 17 of 40 (42.5%) of their 3-point attempts.

A team like Dallas cannot be defeated when their opponent fails to show up on defense.

Top Scorers

  • Doncic was the game’s leading scorer while Kristaps Prozingis also had a double-double game with 27 points and 13 rebounds plus he added five assists
  • Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer coming off the bench to put up 22 points to go along with nine assists

The Glass Cleaners

  • Prozingis was the game’s leading rebounder with 13
  • Hield, Barnes and Bjelica all pulled down seven rebounds each for SAC

Dropping Dimes

  • Buddy Hield was the game’s assists leader with his nine dimes
  • Luca Doncic led Dallas with eight

Up next

The Kings will return to play on Thursday, February 20 when they will host the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Mavericks will return to action on February 21 in Orlando.

Kings sweep season series with Mavericks with a 125-121 win on Tuesday night

Mavs starters

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings trailed the Mavericks by eight points with 4:48 to in the game on Tuesday night in Dallas. The Kings then tied the game at 116-all with 1:33 remaining in the contest. Sacramento then took the lead on a Buddy Hield 25-foot 3-point jump shot, and the Kings never looked back. They won the game 125-121.

The victory evened the Kings record at 37-37 for the season. That is a 10 win improvement over the 2017-18 season with eight games to go on the schedule. That means the Kings could win 40 games which would be an incredible 13-game improvement over the previous year.

No reporter or expert would have predicted that the Sacramento Kings would be in a position to win 40 games prior to the beginning of the season. This season has been nothing short of incredible.

Mavs Fox
Fox was the Kings leading scorer Photo: @SacramentoKings

Why did the Kings win the game?

  1. They shot 50.6-percent (44/87) overall for the game. The Kings hit five more field goals than the Mavericks.
  2. Sacramento hit 10-of-23 (43.5%) 3-point attempts.
  3. The Kings were spectacular from the free throw line. They converted 27-of-32 (84.4%) shots from the charity stripe. The number of opportunities and percentage of conversions represents one of their best performances of the season.
  4. SAC took great care of the ball. They turned it over just seven times which resulted in just 11 Dallas points.

Top Performances

Mavs Hield
Hield helped the Kings late in the game Photo: @SacramentoKings

Kings

  • De’Aaron Fox was the Kings leading scorer with 23 points. His key contribution came at the free throw line where he hit 11-of-12 shots. Fox also dished out eight dimes.
  • Harrison Barnes made his first trip back to Dallas since being traded. The Mavs honored him with a tribute video during the second quarter. Barnes put up 18 points shooting 7-for-16 from the field and hitting 3-of-5 from 3-point land.
  • Buddy Hield saved his best until late in the game. Hield scored 17 points. He went a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Hield also grabbed five rebounds.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein put 16 points in the book. He went 7-for-8 from the floor in the contest. He also hauled in seven rebounds.
  • Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic each scored 14 points versus the Mavs.

Dallas

  • Luka Doncic was the high-scorer in the game with 28 points. He went just 9-for-20 from the floor but hit 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Doncic made it a double-double by recording 12 rebounds.
  • Dwight Powell put a double-double in the book by scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. He hit 6-of-7 shots from the field and went 9-for-11 from the charity stripe.
  • Maxi Kleber came off the bench to record 17 points. He went 6-for-10 from the field including four 3-point baskets.

Up next

The Kings travel on to New Orleans where they will play the Pelicans on Thursday night.

The Mavericks travel to Miami where they will face the Heat on Thursday.

 

Kings bounce back on Sunday night, beating the Mavs 120-113

Dallas Kings final
Photo@NBCS

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The road can be a harsh mistress in the National Basketball Association. Road teams — even strong, veteran squads — suffer humiliating upsets as the visitors in NBA arenas every season.

Sacramento experienced a heartbreaking loss on Friday night as the Golden State Warriors went on a late 17-2 run to defeat the Kings 130-125 on their home court. The Sactown team would have no time to pout about the loss as they had to head out on the road for a tough back-to-back set in Dallas and Minnesota.

First meeting with Dallas of the season

Dallas Doncic
Graphic @DallasMavs

The game on Sunday was the first of three games between the Mavs and Kings in 2018-19. The next game will be played March 21 in Sacramento and the final game will take place on March 26 in the DFW Metroplex.

It was the first time the Kings would face the rookie they passed on to draft Marvin Bagley III — Luka Doncic. Early on, draft experts were convinced that Doncic was going to a King because of his European pedigree. They were wrong.

Even now, NBA reporters are criticizing the Kings for not selecting Doncic. The fact that he is averaging 17.8 points per game along with 6.8 rpg and 4.5 apg may have something to do with that criticism. His 13 20-plus point games may also contribute to that chatter.

The Kings had to play shorthanded

Marvin Bagley III was injured in the Warriors game on Friday night. The Kings rookie star suffered a deep bruise on his left knee and is out for an indefinite period of time. The last word on his condition has him being re-evaluated in 10-14 days.

Iman Shumpert injured his hip in that same game on Friday night and his availability versus the Mavericks was considered a game-time decision. The decision was Shumpert would not be available to play in Dallas.

The first half was a draw

Dallas Hield
Photo@SacramentoKings

As the teams hit the locker rooms at halftime, the Kings held a 61-58 lead over the Mavericks. The half featured seven lead changes and the game was tied six times. The Kings biggest was nine points while the Mavs’ largest lead was seven points.

Dallas won the battle in the paint 30-28. Sacramento outscored the Mavericks 19-9 on Fast Break Points.

The Kings shot 46.9% (23/49) in the half while Dallas hit 22-of-52 (42.3%) of their shots. Each team connected on four 3-point baskets in first 24-minutes.

Buddy Hield paced the Kings scoring with 17 points while De’Aaron Fox added 14 on his own.

The Mavericks scoring attack was led by Luka Doncic who put up 13 points. Dirk Nowitzki added three points. The significance of those points is they came in his first appearance before the fans in Dallas this season.

SAC increases its lead in the third period

The Kings outscored the Mavericks 32-25 in the third quarter. Sacramento shot 13-for-24 (54.2%) from the field in the third while Dallas hit 8-of-22 (36.4%) from the floor. Buddy Hield was the Kings leading scorer with nine points while Luka Doncic led the Mavs with six points.

With 36 minutes in the book, Sacramento held a 93-83 lead over the team from DFW.

The Mavs kept it close in the fourth

Doncic scored nine points and Jalen Brunson added eight as the Mavericks outscored the Kings 30-27 in the final period. De’Aaron Fox scored eight points for the Kings who added 27 to their total in the last quarter.

When the final the buzzer sounded, the Kings had won the game 120-113.

The Sactown backcourt duo combined for 56 points

Dallas Kings 5
Photo@SacramentoKings

Kings guards Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox each scored 28 points in the game (season-high for Hield). Hield shot 12-for-23 for the game while going 3-for-9 from long distance. He also grabbed four rebounds and added two assists.

Fox went hit 11-of-19 attempts while going 0-for-3 from behind the 3-point line. He hit 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Fox dished out five assists and made three steals.

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica each posted 15 points for the Kings. “Byelly” made it “double-double” by hauling in 10 rebounds.

Mavs scoring

Luka Doncic (remember that name) was the Mavericks leading scorer with 28 points. He also had nine assists. Former Warrior Harrison Barnes recorded 15 points.

The “Monster of the Boards” DeAndre Jordan hauled in 23 rebounds (10 on offense) and scored eight points. The 23 rebounds is a season-high for Jordan.

The standings

The Kings (16-13) are now tied for sixth place in the Western Conference with Memphis and Portland.

Dallas (15-13) is in sole possession of ninth place in the West.

Up next

The Kings will be back in action on Monday night in Minnesota versus a team that just lost four games in a row on the road. The T-Wolves are going to be hungry to get back into the win column so they will be a very dangerous opponent for Sacramento.

The Mavericks will head out on the road and will face the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday night.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! SacKings will pick second in NBA Draft

NBADRAFTLottery
Photo: @NBADraftLottery

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The NBA Draft Lottery order was selected in Chicago on Tuesday night, and the big winners of the night were the Sacramento Kings. The Kings entered the evening slotted to pick seventh on draft night in June. The Kings finished the season tied with the Chicago Bulls but lost a coin toss so the Bulls owned the sixth selection pre-lottery draw.

NBADraftFox
@NBADraftLottery

The Kings had just an 18.3-percent chance of winding up in the Top-3 in the Draft Lottery. Those odds may have been helped a little because the team was represented by first-year point guard De’Aaron Fox who has been a positive force for Sacramento ever since his arrival in June of 2017 from the University of Kentucky.

The Kings moved into the Top-3 in the 2017 Draft Lottery back fell back to the number five pick because Philadelphia had the right to swap selections if the Sacramento pick was higher than the Sixers. With the number five selection, the Kings took De’Aaron Fox.

This good fortune becomes even more important because the Kings will not have a first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The 2019 first-round selection was dealt away early in the tenure of Vlade Divac’s administration of basketball operations. This makes the 2018 draft selection even more important than it would normally be because it has to count for two seasons.

Who will be the number two draft pick?

Luka
Photo: @LukaDoncic

Virtually every mock draft site has Luka Doncic going as the number two selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. He is an international player currently playing with Real Madrid of Spain originally from Slovenia. Doncic is a 6-foot-7 small forward/shooting guard who is capable of playing positionless basketball that has become so popular in the NBA today.

Doncic is just 19-years old and definitely plays older than his years. He is an outstanding assists player who also is a strong rebounder on offense and defense. Doncic is an above average scorer and shooter at the free throw line. He needs work on his three-point shooting percentage and his number of turnovers needs to be lower.

The Kings front office has two prominent members – Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic – who are Eastern Europeans and should be able to make Doncic feel comfortable in Sacramento. One of the Kings up and coming stars is former Euro star – Bogdan Bogdanovic –  who certainly understands the style of basketball Doncic has been playing and could help make the transition to the NBA.

It looks like a match made in heaven right? Well, wait just one minute. The Phoenix Suns believe that Doncic can play point guard in the NBA. That’s right. They think this 6-foot-7 budding superstar can play point guard in “the association” alongside their star shooting guard Devin Booker. If the Suns believe Doncic can play that role, he could become the number one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

If Doncic goes number one, who goes number two?

NBADraftAyton
Photo:NBADraftLottery

That would leave DeAndre Ayton from Arizona available for the number two pick. Ayton is a 7-foot-1, 250-pound center who has an NBA body. He scores in multiple ways and has even been developing a three-point shot. Ayton runs the floor well and is not afraid of contact. He has great hands and good footwork.

His weakness is his defense. Ayton tends to get caught flat-footed too many times. He needs to do a better job defending against the pick and roll – a staple of the NBA. He needs to be more consistent about contesting shots.

Ayton is going to be a star in the NBA.

The Suns are going to be under immense pressure to draft the Arizona product and keep him in Phoenix. However, the Suns may opt to pass and go with Doncic who may pay off with more long-term results for them.

Either way, the Kings cannot go wrong. They are going to be able to draft a player who is going to become a star in the NBA.