Add another disappointing loss for the Kings this year. This one didn't sting as much as the Utah game, but it still hurts.
This was just a weird, weird game (I blame the Grateful Dead). Dirk Nowtizki only scored 10 points on 4-14 shooting with 5 fouls to boot. Samuel Dalembert and J.J. Barea scored 20 each! In the same game! Peja Stojakovic went 1-7 from the field but had 5 assists in 20 minutes, the same total Jason Kidd had in 33. DeMarcus Cousins got ejected for walking backwards. Just some truly weird stuff.
But the end result was the same as the last time the Mavericks came to ARCO, a two point loss with some very poor crunch time decision making.
It's too bad too, because things got off to such a great start. Tyreke Evans was in a groove early on, just picking apart the Mavericks defense and putting himself well on pace for a triple-double, finishing with 8 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds after the first. The Kings would take a 28-20 lead going into the second, but it was all downhill from there.
The Mavericks switched up to a zone defense to start the 2nd quarter and it completely threw Sacramento off, just like when Utah did it in the 4th quarter the other night. While Sacramento couldn't get anything going on offense, Dallas was taking it to the Kings, and in fact showing them exactly how to break down a zone even though the Kings weren't using one. Excellent ball movement from the outside to the inside and then back outside led to a lot of wide open threes, mostly for Jason Kidd, and he was knocking them down. The Mavericks went on a big run to end the quarter, including three three-pointers in a row to end the half with a 9 point lead.
The Kings eventually got back into the game, with big thanks to DeMarcus Cousins, Luther Head, and Samuel Dalembert. Cousins had a monster 3rd quarter after not getting anything going in the first half, and finished with 19 points and 15 boards.
Head came off the bench and provided a really nice spark as well, scoring 12 and playing some alright defense (it wasn't phenomenal).
Samuel Dalembert though was on another plane of existence. He started getting on a roll the way you don't want him to: by shooting fadeaway jumpers, and hitting them. His new nickname is "Oh No You Didn't" or ONYD for short, because that's what I want to say every time he shoots the ball. But there is no denying he was good, even great, tonight. He hit his shots, he got to the line, he rebounded. 20 points and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes for ONYD. That's just incredible stuff coming from him.
It wasn't enough though. J.J. Barea became possessed in the 2nd half, getting to the rack at will, no matter who was guarding him. He blew by Beno, Luther and Tyreke regularly. He and Jason Terry just wreaked havoc on the Kings defense, and Sacramento had no answer. Barea and Terry came up big in the clutch as well, both sinking huge three pointers late in the game to seal the win for Dallas.
Sacramento still had a chance at the end though. Tyreke had a very quiet second half after a phenomenal 1st quarter, finishing with just 14 points on 19 shots, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, and the ball was entrusted in his hands on the final play with Sacramento down two. Tyreke drove to the basket, straight into the teeth of the Mavericks defense, tried to draw contact unsuccessfully, and threw up a prayer that wasn't answered because God had used up all his miracles for the day on Dalembert and Barea.
What happened afterwards was unacceptable however. Tyreke simply sat on the floor, and the team wasted 8 seconds before fouling anyone. Jason Thompson was one of those who didn't foul for about four seconds despite having Dirk Nowitzki simply hold the ball in front of him. Thompson was in the game because DeMarcus Cousins had been ejected on a double technical with Tyson Chandler the play before. Neither player deserved a technical or said anything. But since it was Cousins second technical (he picked one up earlier for protesting a call that was rightly reversed) he got thrown out of the game. I doubt it made a difference, but the calls were still BS, and the crowd chanted so.
This was another tough lesson for the Kings to learn. At some point, inexperience can't be used as an excuse for all these close losses because there have just been so many to learn from.