The Dallas Mavericks hosted the Sacramento Kings on the second night of a back-to-back on Sunday night. Fresh off of a one-point win against the league’s hottest team Washington Wizards, the Mavs looked to avoid the season sweep to the Kings and add some cushion to their recently acquired 5th seed playoff position.
Dallas kept up their recent bad habit of starting games slow on Sunday night. The Mavs let the Kings get out to an 8-0 lead to start the game despite both players and coaching staff mentioning slow starts as an weakness this team needs to address before playoffs. However, Dwight Powell wouldn’t let this game get too out of hand for the Mavs. The Mavs back-up center, filling in for an injured Porzingis, put up 9 points, 3 rebound, 1 steal, and 1 block in 7 minutes to keep the Mavs close. Kings rookie guard Tyreese Haliburton countered Powell’s effort with 9 points, 3 assists, and 1 rebound. The Kings were able to take a 36-26 lead into the second by shooting 60% from three and forcing Dallas into 4 turnovers.
Dallas opened up second quarter with 13-3 run fueled by Luka Doncic and Josh Richardson. During the run both Doncic and Coach Rick Carlisle picked up technical fouls due to some questionable, over-officiating by the refs. Despite being tied multiple times in the second, Dallas was never able to take the lead on the Kings. Marvin Bagley, who recently returned from injury, scored 10 timely points to keep the Kings in front. Sacramento continuously took advantage of the Mavs porous interior defense, scoring 20 straight points from within 15 feet, leading to a 61-54 halftime advantage.
Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell led the Mavs in scoring at half with 13 a piece. Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson chipped in with 9 and 8 points, respectively. The Mavs shot decently from inside in the first half at 50%. They struggled from three, only making 3 of their 11 shots from deep. Dallas uncharacteristically turned the ball over 10 times going into halftime, leading to 11 Kings points.
Luka Doncic opened up the third quarter with a sweet mid range shot that we have become accustomed to seeing from him this season. Holmes and Doncic proceeded to exchange baskets until Tyreese Haliburton suffered a non-contact injury to what appeared to be his knee. He was able to walk off under his own power. Marvin Bagley continued to make his presence felt with 10 points and 2 assists. Dallas responded to Holmes and Bagley’s dominate inside play by continuing to shoot and miss threes. The Mavs missed 10 straight three pointers in the third quarter before Nicola Melli made his first with two minutes to play. The Kings went on a 22-10 run during the Mavs tough shooting stretch, giving them an 87-72 lead heading into the fourth.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) May 3, 2021
Dallas still couldn’t figure out how to shoot from three in the fourth. However, the Kings were a disaster on offense as well. Dallas may not have been able to make threes but they forced the Kings into turnovers caused by indecisiveness. The defense allowed Doncic and Brunson to pull the Mavs back in the game, capped off with a Trey Burke three to pull the Mavs within five. That was as close as the Mavs would get, as Delon Wright and Buddy Hield went on an 11-3 run to close out the 111-99 win and season series sweep for the Kings.
Luka Doncic did his best to carry the Mavs yet again with 30 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 turnovers. The rest of the starters scored 32 points combined, including 13 from Powell. The lack of offense can be attributed to their 17% shooting percentage from three. Dallas made only 6 of 35 shots from behind the arc, compared to the Kings 11 for 28. On defense they gave up big games to Richaun Holmes (17 points) and Marvin Bagley (23 points), while losing the interior battle by allowing 64 points in the paint to their own 46.
The Portland Trailblazers, who were a game behind the Mavs coming into the evening, won their game against Boston on Sunday. Instead of adding cushion to their 5th seed, the Mavs loss and Blazers win pushed the Mavs down to the 7th seed and into the play-in tournament at the moment.