Early in this game, it seemed that it would be another long night for Sacramento, playing once again without Isaiah Thomas. The offense couldn't generate much of anything, and Dallas was able to get out to an early double-digit lead, which they maintained for much of the first half, leading by 12 at the half.
The Kings played much better in the second half however, especially in the 3rd quarter, where they outscored the Mavericks 28 to 18. They carried that momentum into the 4th and even led by as much as 5 points before Dallas made some big shots and got to the line plenty since the Kings were in the penalty so early. Free throws proved to be a huge factor in this game, as Dallas shot 35 of them to Sacramento's 19.
With only about 18 seconds left in the game, the Kings found themselves down 6 points. Ben McLemore hit a three with 9.9 seconds to cut it to three, and the Kings were forced to foul Monta Ellis and hope he would miss his free throws. Ellis obliged, and the Kings had an opportunity to send it into overtime. With no timeouts and about 5 seconds on the clock, Travis Outlaw streaked down the court but was well covered by Dallas, and his would-be tying shot missed badly.
A lot of credit is due to the Kings for their excellent second half effort and how they willed their way back into this game. Rudy Gay got off to another slow start, but he ended up finishing with a game-high 30 points on 11-19 shooting and 7 rebounds. One area of concern however was his 7 turnovers to no assists.
DeMarcus Cousins saw his time limited due to foul trouble and only played 27 minutes, but he did score 17 points to go with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. If that seems like a low number of rebounds for Cousins, that's because Reggie Evans snagged 18 in his 29 minutes of action.
Sacramento's rookie backcourt helped kickstart the run in the third quarter. Ray McCallum played all 48 minutes, and finished with 16 points and 8 assists, more than holding his own against Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Devin Harris. Ben McLemore scored 10 points on 4-9 shooting. He went down with an injury in the 3rd quarter but was able to shake it off and come back in later.
The Mavericks got a very balanced scoring effort from their starters, all finishing in double digits, led by Dirk Nowitzki's 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Former King Samuel Dalembert scored 15 points on 7-8 shooting, almost exclusively at dunks around the rim. Both Sammy D and Brandan Wright had 3 blocks.
The Kings as a team managed to outshoot the Mavericks from the floor 51.9% to 48.6%, outrebound them 47 to 35 and even had more steals at 10 to 6. But it was not meant to be, and the Kings remain winless in Dallas since 2003.
The Kings will get a day's rest before heading to New Orleans to finish this road trip.
For the opposing perspective, visit Mavs Moneyball.