DALLAS - After the Dallas Mavericks had established a three-game winning streak, they saw it come to an end at the hands of a 113-106 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
The Mavericks got off to just about as poor of a start as a team can have - trailing 20-3 at the 6:10 mark of the opening period. Dallas came up empty on all six of their three-point attempts during this stretch.
"Early holes are hard to dig out of," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's tiring talking about it over and over again. We've got to be better."
Sacramento even gained a game-high 31-13 lead with 1:23 left to play in the opening period. The Mavericks were off to a poor 1-of-11 (9.1%) start from the floor but went 20-of-33 (60.6%) throughout the remainder of the first half.
Trey Burke played a pivotal role in igniting some momentum into the Mavericks' offense during the second quarter. He contributed a team-most 15 points while going 6-of-9 (66.7%) from the field and 3-of-6 (50.0%) from deep.
Dallas cut the deficit to just 3 points twice as the half was nearing its conclusion. However, the Mavericks failed to convert on their final four attempts from beyond the arc to close out the first half until Trey Burke finally got one to fall with 7.5 seconds left. The Kings temporarily regained a double-figure lead but held just a 59-52 advantage at halftime.
A pair of made three-pointers by Luka Doncic helped the Mavericks to tie the game. Then he dished the ball to Dwight Powell for a go-ahead basket to take a 63-61 lead with 9:50 remaining in the third period.
The momentum did not continue for the Mavericks. Sacramento put together an 8-0 run to regain a 71-65 edge - prompting Dallas to call a full timeout. The Mavs did manage to regain the lead numerous times but seemingly were always playing 'catch up.'
The Mavericks' bench put together an admirable final push during the early stage of the final period. When Jalen Brunson converted on an and-one floater with 10:25 left to play, Dallas managed to take a 92-91 lead. That did not last long.
After Sacramento regained a 96-94 lead with 8:44 left to play, the Mavericks never managed to tie or take the lead for the remainder of this game. Dallas just never quite managed to keep their momentum when they gained leads in the second half.
Overall, it was quite a sluggish perimeter shooting outing for the Mavericks. They finished just 12-of-42 (28.6%) from beyond the arc with Trey Burke being their only quality perimeter shooting performer.
Dallas often goes as far as Luka Doncic can take them and when he has an under-par performance, it tends to result in a loss. He finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists but went 8-of-20 (40%) from the field, 4-of-12 (33.3%) from deep, and 4-of-6 (66.7%) on free throws.
The Mavericks entered this game with Kristaps Porzingis, Josh Richardson, and JJ Redick sidelined, but also had Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Maxi Kleber listed as questionable. Dallas will need some of their inactive players to be ready to go before their next game tips off.
Injuries are no excuse for the Mavericks in this game when considering the Kings were without De'Aaron Fox. Sacramento also lost Harrison Barnes during the third quarter when he went down with an injury and was ruled out from making a return.
Following this loss, the Mavericks now hold a 33-27 record. The lead they hold over the Portland Trail Blazers for the sixth spot in the Western Conference was reduced to just one game.
The Mavericks will look to bounce back on Tuesday when they face the Golden State Warriors at the Chase Center. What to do to avoid those "tiring holes''?
"I don't know, but it's been (happening in) a lot of games,'' Luka said. "I don't know what to say."