Sacramento Kings prevail with 120-115 win over fatigued Dallas Mavericks
The Sacramento Kings defeated the Dallas Mavericks 120-115 on their own turf at American Airlines Center. Star guard Luka Doncic scored 28 points for Dallas, while guard De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 34 points.
The Mavericks struggled throughout the game with the Kings, as they played on the second night of a back-to-back match. Just the day before, the Mavericks went through an emotional night in State Farm Arena, where they clinched a narrow 148-143 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Despite a fiery effort in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks could not complete the comeback and fell into a loss. The Kings, healthier and better-rested, secured the victory in a game marked by the Mavericks’ fatigue and a challenging schedule.
Weary Mavs vs well-rested Kings
The game started with Dallas taking an early 8-0 lead, but Sacramento quickly found their rhythm from three-point range, leading to a tight first quarter. Forward Grant Williams showed promise with two three-pointers.
Meanwhile, Doncic is visibly fatigued after a strong quarter and had to request a substitution. With Doncic out of the game, Dallas struggled to score, ending the first quarter trailing 29-25.
The Mavericks’ struggle continued in the second quarter, and Sacramento extended their lead to 12 points. Despite a brief Dallas comeback, the Kings regained a double-digit lead, ending the first half with a 63-49 advantage. Technical fouls for Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. added to Dallas’s frustrations.
The Kings dominated the early third quarter, opening with back-to-back triples to stretch their lead to 20 points. However, a resilient effort led by Williams brought the Mavericks within single digits. Yet, the Kings responded with a 14-2 run, restoring their lead to 20.
In the fourth and final quarter, Dallas mounted a remarkable comeback, reducing the Kings’ over 20 points lead to just six with over two minutes remaining. Hardaway Jr. had a crucial three-point attempt to cut the lead further but missed.
Despite some mistakes, Sacramento sealed the game with free throws, winning 120-115. Harrison Barnes’ late free throws secured the victory for the Kings despite Dallas’s valiant efforts.
William’s comeback, Doncic burns out
In Sunday’s exhaustive game, Williams deserves a shoutout for his standout performance. The much-criticized forward had a career-high 27 points, showcasing an impressive return of his three-point shooting with seven successful threes.
Against the Kings, Williams demonstrated strong defensive play and effective ball movement. He also swiftly capitalized on open shots created by Doncic. This version of Williams aligns with the expectations Dallas had when acquiring him in the offseason, reminiscent of his early-season performances.
On the other hand, Doncic has shown signs of impending burnout. He logged 46 minutes in Sunday’s game, just 24 hours after a 45-minute battle in Atlanta. Despite his stellar performance on Friday with a staggering career-high of 73 points, Doncic was not in his best condition to take on the Kings the next day.
Over the last five games, Doncic averaged a staggering 41.2 minutes per contest. With eight-time All-Star Kyrie Irving absent for the last three games, Doncic’s usage rate has soared, and he is playing a career-high average of minutes per game this season.
Despite the roster challenges, continually pushing Doncic to these limits may lead to burnout, as seen in previous instances. The Mavericks must prioritize getting healthy and finding ways to afford Doncic some much-needed rest to avoid a potential collapse down the stretch of the season.