DALLAS - On the second night of a back-to-back, the Dallas Mavericks struggled to find enough offensive execution to get a win. Instead, they came up short at the hands of the Sacramento Kings with 111-99 being the final score. ... and with frustration being the centerpiece.
“I set a poor example,'' coach Rick Carlisle said of his ejection, and of Luka Doncic's ejection. "So, that’s on me. I apologized to the team after the game for it, too. It’s not the right example.''
“I’ve got four technicals this year,'' Carlisle continued, "and they’re all from the same guy (referee C.J. Washington). I’m not sure what that says. But there’s a saying, 'Reasonable men have a right to disagree.' And so, I’ll stick with that.”
But Rick knows that more than a ref being Dallas' problem, Sacramento is somehow Dallas' problem.
There was a substantial disparity in perimeter shooting results during the first quarter of this game. The Kings shot 7-of-11 (63.6%) from deep while Buddy Hield (3) and Tyrese Haliburton (2) both personally recorded more makes than the Mavericks.
Facing a 36-26 disadvantage at the start of the second quarter, the Mavericks put together a bit of a rally. Dallas' perimeter shooting struggles continued. Meanwhile, the Kings failed to convert on any of their attempts within this frame.
The Mavericks' offensive woes worsened after halftime. Luka Doncic was the only player that managed to exceed 3 points for Dallas as he finished with 8 within the frame.
The Kings' frontcourt took control during the third quarter as Marvin Bagley III (10) and Richaun Holmes (7) combined for 17 points. Both players nearly matched the Mavericks' 18 points and was pivotal in extending Sacramento's lead to 15 points entering the fourth quarter.
The closest the Mavericks came down the stretch occurred when they scored 7 consecutive points. Following a made three-pointer by Trey Burke with 4:02 left to play, Dallas faced a 99-94 deficit.
Sacramento quickly put an end to the Mavericks' comeback efforts. Former Maverick Delon Wright got to the rim on consecutive possessions and pushed the Kings to a 103-94 advantage with just 3:11 remaining in regulation.
There was one last push the Mavericks but it did not prove to be enough. Jalen Brunson knocked down a three-pointer with 2:04 left to play - bringing the Mavericks within six points.
The Kings called a full timeout after Brunson's potentially momentum changing three-pointer. Buddy Hield immediately responded out of the break with a perimeter jumper of his own. The Mavericks faced a nine-point disadvantage with 1:37 left on the clock.
Wright stuck it to his former team some more by furthering his late-game heroics. He got to the rim for another pair of made layups and put the game out of reach. To add insult to injury, Rick Carlisle and Luka Doncic each were called for technical fouls and were ejected.
“I guess when it was timeout, I threw the ball to the basket,” Luka said. “I guess it was because of that. You get a tech for that? I don’t know.”
Doncic, who with 15 T's is one away from a suspension, said: “I won’t get another one. No way. And the first one should get rescinded, too.''
Why? Because, Doncic insisted, he dared to use the phrase, 'Hell, no!''
The Mavericks never managed to turn their poor perimeter shooting around in this game. Dallas finished their outing by shooting 6-of-35 (17.1%) from beyond the arc while Sacramento went 11-of-28 (39.3%) on their attempts.
Doncic recorded a strong 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists but the Mavericks' perimeter shooting was too underwhelming to overcome. Hield (27) and Bagley III (23) provided a combined 50 points for the Kings while Wright's late-game heroics lifted Sacramento.
It has been a struggle for the Mavericks during their matchups with the Kings this season. Sacramento managed to sweep the season series 3-0 after completing the two team's final meeting of 2020-21 with Dallas never holding a single lead.
“I don’t really know,” Doncic said of the Kings. “I guess it’s not a good matchup. But we got to move to the next one. We have bigger things ahead of us.”
Dallas will need to avoid falling into a losing trend in order to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament. The Mavs remain in a tightly-contested race for the fifth and sixth seed with the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers in the stretch-run of the season.
The Dallas Mavericks will be back in action on Tuesday when they take on the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“We obviously didn’t play well,” Carlisle said. “But we got to flush this one and get ready for Tuesday.”