In a game that seemed prime for a KANGZ moment, Sacramento saw the talent disparity between themselves and the Mavericks, developed a comfortable second half lead, and… never KANGZed it up.
Starting against the likes of Salah Mejri and Dorian Finney-Smith, DeMarcus Cousins and Sacramento (8-13) took advantage of Dallas’ lack of size (and talent) in the post; Cousins finished with a team high 24 points to go with 14 rebounds and seven assists, and the Kings scored 68 points in the paint (41 in the first half). Rudy Gay had an efficient game at both ends of the court, outmuscling the Dallas small-ball lineup for 19 points and four steals, while Garret Temple continued to be the Kings best shooting guard (and arguably best guard) with 17 points and three assists on 5-6 shooting (4-4 from three).
Wesley Mathews (16 points) and Deron Williams (20 points) were the lone effective players for Dallas, who fell to 4-17 on the season. The Mavericks sit at the bottom of the western conference, hamstringed by both father time and the injury bug; Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut, JJ Barea and Seth Curry all missed the game for Dallas, and the lack of depth/sheer talent was noticeable all game long. Sacramento didn’t have the cleanest game, and didn’t play as well as the score indicated, but they did shoot 56% from the field (and held the Mavs to 41%) and left no doubt who the better team was.
Despite the Mavericks injuries and a difference in talent levels, Sacramento had to fight to maintain a five- to seven-point lead throughout the first half and could never break off a major run. Back-to-back terrible calls gave Deron Williams back-to-back three point plays to end the half, with the Kings clinging to a 56-52 lead. The battle ended with a 14-2 run to start the second half, which gave the Kings a comfortable lead they would never relinquish.
The Kings mercifully finished their six game road trip, securing two wins, three losses, and one Philadelphia. They won’t have long to rest; after a home rematch against New York on Friday (who beat Sacramento 106-98 on Sunday), the Kings immediately head to Salt Lake City for a Saturday matchup against the emerging 14-9 Jazz.
- Dave Joeger shuffled the shooting guard spot and gave Ben McLemore the start. It was one of Ben’s trademark Invisible man games, as he never made his presence known on either end, finishing with 9 points on 3-11 shooting.
- Omri Casspi had another strong game, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds on 5-7 shooting. After promising an eight-man rotation in the offseason, Joeger has upped that to a ten player, and Omri is proving that was a smart decision. On the roadtrip, Omri averaged 6.6 points on 48% shooting and 43% from three.
- Momentum swung the Mavericks way as they cut it to 94-80 with 6 minutes to go in the game, but Temple and Cousins wouldn’t let the Kings go KANGZ. A three by Temple, coupled by Joeger switching him onto the nearly-on-fire Deron Williams, swung the lead back to a comfortable margin.