The Kings envoked no more madness on Thursday night, and a full 48 minute effort earned them a 116 to 100 victory over the visiting Dallas Mavericks. Sacramento (35-36) started the game a little jilted, expected after Tuesday’s collapse against the Nets, but the Kings took the Mavericks’ best shot late in the first half. After intermission, the Kings came alive, and outhustled, out defended, and significantly out-sped a Dallas team (28-44) that has been one of the worst teams in the league since the All Star Break.
Buddy Hield found his shot again, scoring 29 points and 4 assists on 10 of 21 shooting. De’Aaron Fox took advantage of the fact that no one on the Mavericks roster can possibly keep up with him, and stormed his way to 15 points, 9 dimes, and 4 huge blocks. And rookie Marvin Bagley was hot from the moment he touched the court—22 points, 12 boards, 8 of 16 shooting, 3 of 5 from distance, and 3 huge help blocks. Atfer the total team disaster against Brooklyn cost us the opportunity to appreciate what should have just been Bagley’s best game to date, it was good to see Bagley dominate again; the Mavericks had no answer for him defensively, especially when he’s hitting trailer threes.
Former King Justin Jackson hit the peak of his rollercoaster basketball biorhythm against his old team, and had 19 points, 5 boards, and some really nice defense on Buddy Hield in the first half. Aside from Jackson, the Kings defense locked down the Mavericks, who finished the game with a combined 39% clip from the field.
Rookie star Luka Dončić finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists, but had himself a miserable night; 4 of 19 shooting and 2 of 10 from downtown. Dončić’s creation ability was severely hampered by both the Kings fast, energetic defenders, but also by a lack of any teammates that demanded defensive attention, as he found himself crowded, doubled, and contained. Willie Cauley-Stein (10 points and a career-high 18 rebounds) had a number of these defensive posessions; after earning a technical by taunting after a beautiful spinning dunk on Salah Mejri, Willie locked himself in, and clamped down on Dončić multiple times on the perimeter, in the corner, and in the paint. It was arguably Cauley-Stein’s best game of the season, and he only needed to score 10 points to achieve it.
Bogdan Bogdanovic struggled again, finishing with just 7 points on 3 of 9 shooting, but he had a brilliant dunk on his buddy Luka that envoked smirks on both participants. Harry Giles was sidelined in the second half after suffering a left thigh contusion that doesn’t sound serious.