Rookie of the year front runner candidate Luka Doncic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season as the rookie guard finished with 28 points, 12 assists, and 12 rebounds. Although he tied Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson for third most triple-doubles as a rookie in NBA history, the Dallas Mavericks fell at home to the visiting Sacramento Kings 125-121.
The home loss marked the fourth loss to the Kings this season, giving them the sweep against the Mavs for the 2018-19 campaign. The last time this happened, you have to go all the way back to the 1997-98 season. Then, Luka wasn’t a twinkle in anyone’s eye. In the close loss, however, Luka shined the brightest.
Although the Mavs are seven games above .500 when they score 110-plus points, the Kings up-tempo offense was too much. Everything seemed to be going right for Dallas except when it wasn’t. The Mavs are 17-2 at home this season when leading going into the fourth quarter. Make that 17-3 after Sacramento came to town.
Offensively, the Kings average 22.2 fast break points per game and 19.2% of their total points come on the break. In the Mavs loss, Sacramento hit their 22-point mark on the dot, and it showed throughout the game as the Kings looked to push the pace and fling the ball up the court every chance they got.
Sacramento’s athletic young point guard De’Aaron Fox showed why he is one of the quickest and most lethal young talents in the game in his own right. Leading the way for the Kings with 23 points, eight assists and five rebounds, Fox’s end to end tenacity proved to be too much for the Mavs backcourt to contend with. Ex-Mavs star Harrison Barnes made his return to the 214 donning the purple and black of the Kings instead of the Mavs’ blue and white. He was given a tribute video in the 1st quarter accompanied with a standing ovation. The Mavs could have used Barnes, as he finished with 18 points, three rebounds, and an assist.
Although the Mavs missed Barnes’ presence, bench players Maxi Kleber and Ryan Broekhoff each picked up the slack. Kleber finished with 17 points, four rebounds, one steal, and one block. Broekhoff who has finally caught fire and found his shooting touch as of late ended up with 11 points and a rebound. This marks the third straight game that the hot shooting Broekhoff finished in double-digit point totals. Maybe the Mavs should start trying to free him up more by running him off of screens and trying to get him some open looks because the kid has been stroking it as of late.
Even though the Kings outscored the Mavs 22-4 on the fast break, the play of the game was a Fox offensive rebound late in the fourth quarter. After missing a driving layup attempt at the rim, Fox followed his shot and was fouled. He then went on to sink both free throws and the Kings never looked back from there.
In spite of Luka’s three-point shooting struggles, he still managed to keep the game close all the way until the end. At the end of the day though, when your best player goes 0-9 on three-point attempts, your chances of actually pulling out a victory are tough. The Mavs are not a playoff team this season, but the future looks bright with Doncic at the helm as his shooting woes will not last for long.