The Kings’ road woes continued Saturday night, as the fell to the Dallas Mavericks 99-66. This loss dropped the Kings to 4-9, with a 1-6 record on the road. The Mavs started the game on an 8-0 run, and never looked back from there. Tyreke and Co. made it interesting for a minute, responding to the 8-0 run with a 10-4 run of their own. However, following a series of trademark Kings turnovers, the Mavs quickly opened up a double-digit lead, and the onslaught was on. Sacramento managed a measly 23 points by halftime, tying a team record for fewest point in a single half. It didn’t get much prettier from there, but the Kings did come out of the locker room strong, and managed to outscore the Mavs in the third quarter. Things were back to normal in the fourth, however, and the Mavs’ bench sealed the game, and sent the Kings off to Minnesota on a somber note. To put the Kings’ poor scoring night into perspective, the Mavericks bench outscored the Kings, 68-60. Here are a few things I took away from this game:
- Poor Shooting Continues – Yet again, the Kings were characterized by their poor shooting from the field. During their record-setting first half, they shot 17%, while failing to knock down a three pointer in nine attempts. They finished the game shooting 25%, while nailing two three-pointers in twenty-one attempts. Shot selection was key in this game, as the Mavs interior defense held the Kings’ slashers (most notably Tyreke Evans) at bay, forcing them to settle for tough jumpers.
- Struggling Stars – The Kings’ big three failed to make an impact on the game, and the supporting cast followed suit. In his first game back from injury, Marcus Thornton scored 14 points, going 4-14 from the field. Tyreke Evans finished with just three points on 1-8 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins followed up a poor performance against Houston Friday night with a 12 point 10 rebound showing. This marked his 8th double-double of the season, his fifth in the past six games. While he continues to show improvement from his rookie season, his shot selection remains the same, as he went 4-12 against the Mavericks’ stout defense.
- Frontcourt Rebounding Well – One thing the Kings did well last season was rebound the ball, and with the additions of John Salmons and J.J. Hickson, they’re continuing this trend. Cousins led the way with 10 rebounds, but Hickson was also huge on the boards adding nine of his own. Jason Thompson and Salmons weren’t too far behind, grabbing eight and seven rebounds, respectively. Sacramento is ranked 9th in the NBA in rebounds per game, and it is an underrated aspect of their game.
- Rookie Report – They flat out didn’t play well. Jimmer returned to the bench with the return of Marcus Thornton, and scored three points on 1-8 shooting. He also managed two assists and three rebounds. By the way he plays, you can tell the scorer’s mentality is still there, but he is doing a commendable job of playing more like a true point guard. Surprising rookie Isaiah Thomas was quiet, scoring two points on 1-6 shooting, and failing to record an assist.