Game 35 Notes: Sacramento Kings Drop Another in Dallas

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Simply put, Tuesday night’s game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks had everything an NBA basketball game could possibly hope to promise: a dominant DeMarcus Cousins, a clutch Dirk Nowitzki, tense back-and-forth action, two overtime periods, a Deron Williams rebirth, and, of course, a Kings loss by heartbreaking means.

Not that there aren’t positives the Kings players, coaches and fans can take away from the 116-117 loss: Sacramento was entering Dallas having not won there since Feb. 27, 2003; now without Rajon Rondo, Omri Casspi and Willie Cauley-Stein due to back spasms, back soreness and a right index finger laceration, respectively; all on the second half of a back-to-back.

Before tying the score with 4:20 left in the fourth quarter, the Kings had trailed Dallas almost the entire game. On multiple occasions, Sacramento would chip the Mavericks’ lead down to five, only to watch Nowitzki and company stretch it back out to as much as 10.

But from that 4:20 mark and on, both teams traded baskets until the game’s end.

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With 46 seconds left in the fourth, Marco Belinelli, who converted only five of his 17 shots and four of his 13 threes, hit a three to make the score Kings 93, Mavericks 94. Nowitzki countered with a midrange jumper (93-96), which Belinelli countered with his patented pump fake and a corner three (96-96), which Deron Williams countered with a driving floater (96-98), which Cousins countered with a left-handed lay-in to beat the buzzer (98-98), and take the game to its first overtime.

From there, with less than a minute and a half remaining in OT, Belinelli and Collison missed back-to-back three-point attempts, one of which would have given Sacramento a seven-point advantage. Instead, Dallas later tied the score at 104 on a Nowitzki (-offensive foul-) jumper, Zaza Pachulia stripped Cousins on the other end, Dirk missed a straight-on three (well-challenged by Boogie), and Seth Curry was just long on a crowded midrange attempt at the buzzer.

Thusly, the second overtime period began, during which Cousins briefly overpowered the entire Dallas defense, scoring seven straight points to give his team a four-point lead with 2:35 left to play. Shortly thereafter, DeMarcus, with five fouls, pinned a Pachulia layup attempt against the backboard from behind, and a Rudy Gay three took the Kings’ lead to seven at the 1:20 mark.

Then, per the game’s already established ebb and flow, Dallas followed Sacramento with a run of its own—a run that culminated in Deron Williams’ game-winning, buzzer-beating, step-back three.

In search of excuses, you could potentially point to the officials’ shortcomings—to Nowitzki’s forearm shiver into Collison’s throat, or even Dirk’s outburst in the face of an official which, had DeMarcus done what Dirk did, would’ve secured him at least one technical. But that’s too easy.

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Because, with about a minute left to play in the game’s second overtime, Sacramento held a seven-point lead. But after a quick Deron Williams lay-in followed closely by a Nowitzki step-back three, that lead was down to two.

And later, with the ball in Collison’s hand, with a 2.3-second separation between the shot clock and game clock, Dallas was somehow directed NOT to foul. In response, Sacramento rightly elected to bleed the shot clock as best it could, but a wide open 16-footer from Collison — a shot he’s making at a 58 percent clip this year — missed not only the net but, more importantly, the rim entirely.

Had that shot simply grazed the outside rim, the best attempt Dallas could have possibly mustered would have been something just longer than a half court heave at the buzzer. Instead, a shot clock violation allowed the Mavericks the opportunity to call timeout, advance the ball past mid-court, draw up a play, inbound the ball with 2.3 seconds left on the game clock and, well, you know.

Notable Performances

For the Kings, center DeMarcus Cousins tallied 35 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, six steals, 10 turnovers and one block. Cousins is the first player to record at least 35 points, 15 rebounds and 10 turnovers since Tim Duncan did so in 2003. In addition, DeMarcus overtook Chris Webber as the Sacramento Kings franchise leader in rebounding.

Rudy Gay added 31 points on 20 shots, going 13-20 from the field including 3-3 from beyond the arc.

For the Mavericks, Deron Williams led the team in scoring with 25 points on 18 shots, adding four assists and two steals. Dirk Nowitzki, though he started the game shooting 3-13 from the field, finished 8-19 for 23 points.