Four in a row was not meant to be for Sacramento as reality struck back in a harsh way. The Kings essentially lost the game in one big stretch from the end of the first quarter through most of the second. With the game tied 29-29 with 1:46 left in the first, Dallas proceeded to go on a 32-4 run. Sacramento's first field goal in the second quarter came with just 3:32 remaining. Sacramento's defense was a sieve, and offensively the ball movement was atrocious. By the time the Kings' offense figured out something, it was already too late.
Sacramento's downturn came primarily when the bench unit came to play. Sacramento's bench was awful for the second game in a row. By the time the half ended, they had scored just two points. It didn't get much better in the second half either, as the bench took some good momentum from the Kings starters and killed that as well. Both Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette got a chance to play tonight, and both were pretty lousy for the most part. Jimmer was part of the debacle of the first half, and Isaiah came in and couldn't make a shot. In one sequence in the third quarter with the Kings down 15, Isaiah took it inside to have his shot blocked by Vince Carter, and O.J. Mayo nailed a triple to give Dallas a pretty much insurmountable lead going into the fourth quarter. It was only a minute earlier that the Kings were down just 13, a manageable number.
The fourth quarter might as well not have been played. Dallas' bench, led by Jae Crowder and Elton Brand, took their opportunity to step on the neck of the Kings, hitting jumper after jumper. Marcus Thornton hit a couple of shots to get out of his funk but the game was essentially already decided. Sacramento's bench finished with 21 points on 8 of 31 from the field (25.8%), with 6 assists to 8 turnovers.
A few Kings players did stand out in a positive way tonight despite the blowout loss. DeMarcus Cousins was a legitimate force, both inside and outside, scoring 25 points on an efficient 10-17 from the field. His defense did leave something to be desired though. Francisco Garcia had a huge game, scoring 25 points including a career-high 7 triples. Cisco is now just 17 three pointers away from tying Kevin Martin for 4th in three pointers made in the Sacramento-era.
John Salmons did a good job distributing once again, finishing with a game-high 7 assists. When Tyreke Evans comes back, I'd like to see both him and Salmons share the ball-handling duties over Aaron Brooks. Brooks did manage to have 5 assists, but I really dislike the way he runs the offense. One possession just featured him holding the ball for ten seconds before bricking a three.
The Kings as a team were particularly sloppy with the basketball, committing 20 turnovers on which the Mavericks scored 32 points. Conversely, the Kings only forced 10 turnovers of their own for 12 points. A lot of Sacramento's turnovers were self-inflicted, with some of the laziest passing I've seen this season. On more than one occasion did a Kings player throw a soft pass to a teammate that had a Maverick essentially in front of them.
The Kings' last winning streak began after getting embarrassed by the Clippers last Saturday. Hopefully they can regroup the same way, although it will be a much more difficult proposition as they will face Milwaukee and Oklahoma City on their home floors before coming back home. Hopefully injured star Tyreke Evans will be available for those games because it is clear the Kings need him, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
- Jae Crowder really looks like a stockier version of Kenneth Faried that can shoot.
- Contract-Year Cisco? He's been playing really well since he's started over the injured Evans. If he continues to play like this off the bench when Evans comes back, it will be a real boon to the team.
- I like the increased patience in the post I'm seeing from DeMarcus Cousins.
- Isaiah's shot has been off the last few games from outside. If we could just invent a machine that could combine the best qualities of Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette, we'd have a hell of a Point Guard. Someone get on that.
- James Johnson almost airballed a free throw. It barely got to the front rim.
- Nostradumbasses of the Night were Doors Open and For Kings and Country with 4 points apiece.