The Dallas Mavericks took on the Sacramento Kings Wednesday, to play their third game of a five-game road trip. Dallas split the first two games of the trip, losing to the Utah Jazz before beating the Portland Trail Blazers 132-117.
The Mavericks got off to a great start, leading 30-20 at the end of the first frame. For as good as their first quarter was, their second quarter was equally bad, being outscored 35-13 in the frame.
Things picked back up for the Mavericks in the second half, thanks in large part to a strong third quarter. A 7-0 run late in the frame gave Dallas their lead back at 69-68, though they trailed 73-69 entering the fourth.
Kristaps Porzingis set the tone in the final frame, scoring on back-to-back possessions to take a two-point lead.Dallas would hold on to their lead for a majority of the final quarter, with Sacramento not tying things back up until there was just 4:03 left to go.
Head coach Jason Kidd, who had been praised for his work for most of the game, made some questionable decisions in the final frame. Kidd kept Dwight Powell in the game, who was having his share of struggles both offensively and defensively.
With just 33.2 seconds left, Porzingis knocked down a pair of free throws to take a 94-92 lead. On the following possession Dallas forced a miss and came down with the rebound, giving their team the ball with 27.7 seconds remaining and a two-point lead.
The Mavericks called a timeout, but didn’t seem to prepare for the final possession, allowing time to run out and turning the ball over on a shot clock violation. The Kings got the ball back with 4.2 seconds remaining, enough time to find a wide open 3-pointer for Chimezie Metu, who hit the buzzer beater to win the game 95-94.
Despite yet another close loss, Dallas saw strong performances from Jalen Brunson and Porzingis, who combined for 49 of the teams points. Brunson had 25 points on 11-19 shooting, while Porzingis had 24 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Dorian Finney-Smith also had a strong outing, despite only playing 27 minutes due to foul trouble. Finney-Smith shot 50% from the field and made three of his five 3-point attempts. The small forward also ignited a run when we re-entered the game in the fourth quarter, draining a 3-pointer and also throwing down a huge dunk to give his team some momentum.
In 28 minutes of action Powell struggled to provide contributions for his team, scoring 2 points and grabbing six rebounds. The Mavericks were outscored by 11 points with the 30-year-old center on the floor, while no other starter had a +/- of worse than -2.
The loss makes the fifth in the last seven games for Dallas, as they have struggled with missing players. Isaiah Thomas, who the Mavericks signed earlier this week, became the 24th Maverick to earn playing time this year, which is the most of any team in the league.
Dallas will look to finish their road trip on a high note, with a pair of games against the Sacramento Kings and the Oklahoma City Thunder. After that they will return home to face the Denver Nuggets on Jan. 3 and the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 5. The game against the Warriors will also be when they honor legend Dirk Nowitzki, by retiring his jersey.