In a week full of disappointments, the Kings added another one to their list with an overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks. After leading by as much as 17 points with 3:50 to go in the 3rd quarter, the Mavericks, led by O.J. Mayo and Vince Carter were able to come back and take the lead in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Thomas hit an awkward bank shot three pointer to send the game into overtime, but the Mavericks still retained momentum. The loss of DeMarcus Cousins to a Flagrant-Two foul midway through the extra period did not help matters.
So how exactly did Dallas come back from 17 down to win this game? What changed?
For one, the Mavericks, after being thoroughly dominated in the paint in the first half, took it right back to Sacramento. They were helped in part by an ultra small ball lineup featuring Aaron Brooks, Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans and Thomas Robinson. You read that right. Four of those guys are undersized for their natural position, let alone in this particular lineup.
The quality of shots the Mavericks were getting were much higher than anything for Sacramento. It was like a layup line out there for both Mayo and Carter, and when Dallas wasn't getting layups, they were getting to the line. In the 2nd half the Mavericks scored all but 12 of their 59 points in the paint or at the line (and 6 of the 10 points that did not came within the 7-11 ft range, so not much farther). Meanwhile Sacramento was stuck as Dallas' defense tightened and ball movement completely disappeared.
Before he fouled out in Overtime, DeMarcus Cousins had been the man for Sacramento with 29 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He was 9-14 from the field and 11-17 at the line, a season-high in attempts for the big fella. The foul he was ejected for was an elbow to Vince Carter's face coming out of a scrum for the basketball. He seemed to regret it almost immediately, showing no ill intent as he asked Carter if he was alright and holding him to make sure he didn't fall to the floor. But the referees ruled it as a flagrant-two, changing their minds from the original call of flagrant-one.
Tyreke Evans also had a good game in his second game since coming back from injury with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks, shooting 8-11 from the field. I would have liked to see him paired with another playmaker on the court though, particularly in the 4th quarter when the Kings as a whole were primarily running isolation plays.
Isaiah Thomas was the other key contributor with 18 points and 4 assists in 31 minutes. His three in the fourth quarter sent the game into overtime and he had a chance with 15 seconds left in overtime to try to earn five more minutes after Vince Carter missed a couple of free throws, but that attempt was way off. The team almost certainly could have gotten a better shot opportunity, given the amount of time left in the game.
Marcus Thornton, as mentioned above, did return from his sprained ankle, but was very rusty and probably should not have been in the game as long as he was.
For Dallas, Mayo and Carter were definitely the key cogs of the comeback and eventual victory, slicing and dicing into the lane at will. After scoring just 2 points in the first half, Mayo finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Carter came in off the bench to add 23, predominantly from the line (where he was 13-16). Shawn Marion also had an underrated game with 19 points and 10 rebounds playing as an undersized Power Forward much of the night.
Sacramento is now 0-2 on this five game homestand and will next face the defending champion Miami Heat on Saturday.
For the opposing perspective, visit Mavs Moneyball
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