The Kings’ recent run of good vibes came to a screeching halt in Dallas on Monday night, as Sacramento suffered a 130-111 loss to the Mavericks in their last contest before the All Star Break.
Buddy Hield tried to carry the listless Kings, finishing with 22 points and 9 assists, but the Kings not-named Chavano combined to shoot just 33 of 78 (42%) from the field; meanwhile, Luka Dončić had 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists, Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points, 13 boards, and 5 assists, and the Mavericks not-named Luka or Kristaps combined to shoot 27 of 51 (52%) from the field.
It wasn’t the ugliest offensive game for Sacramento — they did the hard work of getting solid shots and mostly making the right passes, only to miss open jumpers and clank away layups. The Kings finished with just 5 turnovers to their 26 assists, but were frigid from deep at 12 of 39. But while Sacramento’s offense arguably suffered from just a team-wide cold streak, their teamwide defense was torched; the Luka-led Mavs scored sure enjoyed having their 20 year-old MVP back after he missed the previous 8 games with an ankle sprain. There was no sign of the injury in Luka’s superstar performance.
Luke Walton tried to continue the Kings recent small-ball success by starting a lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Cory Joseph, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, and Njemania Bjelica. That lineup got even smaller when Bjelica was sent to the bench with two quick fouls, and forward DeQuan Jeffries was the first man off the bench. That lineup didn’t last long (Jeffries played just three minutes, where he hit a three and managed a steal), but the Kings lack of size was very evident throughout the game; Sacramento lost the rebounding battle 47-40, and Porzingis bombed out against anyone the Kings tried to throw at him. The closing minutes of the ballgame ended with Barnes and Bjelica matched up against former King Willie Cauley-Stein and the 7’4” Boban Marjanovic, a hilarious lineup taunt by Rick Carlisle —especially when Boban hit a three pointer in the final seconds.
Sacramento now has the extended All Star break to watch film. Their first game back will be on Thursday, February 20, against the Superteam, Just Young Memphis Grizzlies.