Another game without Tyreke Evans, another loss.
Unlike the blowout loss to Oklahoma City yesterday, the Kings actually got off to a good start, scoring the first 5 points of the game and leading for most of the first quarter. Sacramento used its 21st different starting lineup, featuring Dalembert, Cousins, Casspi, Udrih and little used swingman Jermaine Taylor in place of Evans.
It was Taylor who helped Sacramento get off to a hot start, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and a half, tying his previous career high. He ended up with 17 points (leading the Kings in scoring), 5 assists, 4 steals and 3 rebounds in 38 minutes of play, by far one of the better games of his young career. The night ended on a sour note for Jermaine though, as he left the game late in the 4th quarter with a leg injury.
The Mavericks made a big push in the 2nd and 3rd quarters though that effectively put the Kings out of commission. The run was fueled by their guards.
Jason Kidd was on fire, hitting 6-7 of his three point attempts and finishing with 20 points, with most of his damage coming in a huge 24-6 3rd quarter run for Dallas. Jose Juan Barea (11 points, 10 assists) and Jason Terry (12 points) also had good games off the bench.
Another Dallas guard who made a good contribution was Rodrigue Beaubois, playing in his first game all season after breaking his foot in the offseason. It didn’t look like he was rusty at all though, providing early energy for the Mavs and scoring 13 points to go with 6 assists and 3 steals in just 20 minutes of play.
For Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins had another double-double with 16 points and 12 boards (to go with 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks), but he shot a terrible 6-19 from the field, and finished with a game-high 7 turnovers. Dallas alternated both Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood on him and both were effective.
Beno Udrih and Donté Greene were more efficient than Cousins, both scoring 16 points. Udrih added 7 assists.
Offense wasn’t really the issue for Sacramento. They shot 49.3% from the field, and got to the line an amazing 34 times, compared to Dallas only having 6 attempts. But poor defense (Dallas shot 55.6%), especially on the perimeter (13-26 from downtown), and a season-high in turnovers (26) doomed them against a much better Dallas team.
Luckily for the Kings, the All-Star break is upon them, allowing for them to regroup and recuperate before they continue their road trip against even tougher opponents in Florida.