Kings 93, Mavericks 88: Scrappy offense snags win number one

A veteran-led closing lineup held on to the late-game lead.
By | 0 Comments | Oct 21, 2017

The Kings had plenty of chances to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Dallas on Friday night, but the veteran-led closing lineup didn’t blink against a fourth quarter Mavericks run and the Kings prevailed 93-88. A four-point play from George Hill in the closing minutes, followed by a great loose-ball snag by Buddy Hield and another jumper from Hill gave the Kings the final push they needed to snag their first win of the season.

Hill led the Kings (1-1) with 21 points, while De’Aaron Fox added 9 points, 10 assists and 6 boards, and Willie Cauley-Stein finished with another double-double at 11 points and 10 boards. In his first game of the season, Zach Randolph snagged the start and had 13 points and 6 boards in 30 minutes…albeit on 5-15 shooting from the floor. Harrison Barnes had 24 points to lead the Mavericks (0-2).

Neither team played particularly inspiring offense, as both the Kings (43% shooting) and Maverick (41.3% shooting) rosters are (a) newly forged and developing chemistry, and (b) not that good yet. The big difference in the game was the battle on the boards, where Sacramento dominated 57-36. Considering that rebounds were one of the bigger question marks for the roster, that’s an impressive advantage.

Dave Joerger tightened up the rotations against Dallas, and closed out with Fox and Cauley-Stein playing alongside the elder statesmen in Hill, Garret Temple, and Randolph. After a fluid 10-man rotation against the Rockets, Joerger handcuffed two five-man lineups together for the second-half run – he stuck with the starting lineup of Hill, Hield, Justin Jackson, Randolph, and Cauley-Stein until there were just under 3 minutes left in the 3rd, and then gave Fox, Temple, Vince Carter, Skal Labissiere, and Kosta Koufos nearly 10 minutes of run together.

Much like the opener against Houston, Cauley-Stein and Fox were the Kings best youngsters. Fox missed some gimmie layups, and let defenders give him body-lengths worth of defensive space on the perimeter without shooting it, but he also had some excellent ball control and great passing. Even with George Hill playing at a high level, the ball ran through Fox whenever he was on the court – a 10/2 assist/turnover ratio is amazing for a rookie with his usage rate.

This game was also further evidence that Cauley-Stein has shed his apparent reluctance on the glass, as he snagged some really nice boards (including 4 offensive) against a feisty Maverick big lineup. He also continued to show his mid-range game might actually sort-of be a real weapon…probably.

The Kings kicked off the game with a sputtering offense, and the Mavericks clearly outplayed them for much of the first half, leading by as much as 12… and yet, thanks to a solid run to end the second and a 30-to-20 advantage on the glass, the Kings knotted it up at 43-43. Fox led the way with 7 points, 7 assists, and 3 rebounds at the half, while Cauley-Stein had 6 points and 9 boards.

The Kings continue this road trip with a stop in Denver on Saturday before a Monday match up in Phoenix. For an opponent’s perspective, visit Mavs Moneyball.

Game notes:

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