Sacramento started the game off strong, with their 3-ball falling early and often. De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, who’ve struggled to be on the same page all season, shot a combined 5-of-10 from behind the arc. Fox led all scorers with 10 points in the first quarter, followed by Hield with nine, and the Kings went into the second quarter with a 10-point lead.
Unfortunately, the game peaked in the first quarter.
After the Kings’ hot start, they slowly let the Mavericks back into the game until Dallas tied the game in the fourth quarter. The most frustrating thing was that the Mavericks weren’t even hitting shots — as a team, the Mavericks shot a lower percentage from the field (40%) than the Kings (56.5%). The problem was that the Kings couldn’t generate a scoring opportunity no matter how hard they tried, and believe me: they tried.
In other words, it’s not like the Mavericks completely outplayed the Kings, or that Rick Carlisle out-coached Luke Walton; Dallas just had more talent on the floor, and their most talented player is really, really talented. Like, so good.
In 43:31, Luka Doncic tallied 34 points, 20 rebounds, 12 assists and 2 blocks. At 20 years old, Doncic is the youngest player in NBA history to record at least 30 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists. Doncic was the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Kings had the No. 2 pick.
With a loss to the Mavericks, the Kings are only a half game away from falling past the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference. Sacramento is still technically in contention for a playoff spot, but let’s be honest: it’s over.