The surprisingly good Sacramento Kings came into Dallas and snapped the Mavs 11-game home win streak on Sunday night. Strong play from the Kings backcourt mates De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield propelled the King to a 120-113 victory. Luka Doncic finished with 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists while DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and 23 rebounds. With the loss, Dallas falls to 9th in the Western Conference with a 15-13 record.
The Kings continuously pushed the pace against Dallas by quickly finding outlet passes and using their speed to beat the Mavs down the floor. The result is a 32 to 14 fast break point advantage. De’Aaron Fox was especially lethal in transition, as he finished with 28 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals. He used his speed to get his team down the floor and set them up. Buddy Hield was the main beneficiary as he also had 28 points.
The Mavs missed Dennis Smith Jr. tonight, who sat out with a sore right wrist. His speed would have been helpful against Fox. He also could have helped the fast break offense score more than 14 points. Luka Dončić was the primary ball handler and didn’t get much help from his back court mates Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris, who had 12 and 7 points respectively.
Free throw woes
The Mavs aren’t a great free throw shooting team. They only shoot 75% from the free throw line, which is 23rd in the NBA. Tonight, their free throw struggles reared their ugly head. The Mavs converted 24 of 31 free throws tonight for 77%, so they beat their average. But they missed seven free throws. They also lost by seven points. Dallas attempts the third most free throws per game at 26. If they could manage to convert more of their attempts, they would be closer in games like this.
Bad three point shooting
The three ball has been unkind to the Mavs the past two games. In the loss to Phoenix on Thursday, Dallas shot their season worst 5 for 33 from the three point line, good for 15%. Tonight Dallas shot 9 for 35, or 27%. The Kings weren’t much better, as they also made nine threes on 29% shooting. Their threes were more hurtful in the timely nature, as they hit two big ones late in the fourth to keep Dallas at bay. Dallas will live by the three and die by the three as they place a heavier emphasis on the three. Tonight, like Thursday, they died by it.
Dirk’s first home game
Dirk Nowitzki made his first appearance at home this season at the end of the first quarter. The Dallas legend would finish the game with three points and four rebounds on one for four shooting. His shot looked good as he had two of them go in and then rim out. It is still going to take the time for him to get into rhythm, but it is good to see the big man out on the court again. The Mavericks played a tribute video for him when he entered the game, check it out below
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) December 17, 2018
Dallas kicks off a four-game road trip on Tuesday as they travel to Denver to take on the 19-9 first place Nuggets.
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