3 takeaways from the Mavericks game
The Sacramento Kings gladly welcomed their All-Star big man back from a lower back strain against the Dallas Mavericks Monday night. The team finished the game victorious, trumping the Mavericks (112-98).
The Boogieman Returns
The return of DeMarcus Cousins was something that was desperately needed because his team was on a two-game losing streak and had lost three of their last four. To make matters worse, the Kings have a record of (1-7) when they are without Cousins.
While this may be a concern that needs to be addressed down the road, the former Wildcat was back and did not skip a beat. Cousins filled the stat sheet with 31 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.
“Every time you get Cousins a paint touch it’s going to be a foul or a bucket,” Darren Collison said when describing the presence of their franchise player.
The six assists for Cousins were his highest of the season and had some fun highlight passes to his team’s glue guy Omri Casspi. The fact that Cousins can affect the game in so many different ways and see him look presumably healthy, is a positive sign that the Kings’ season is far from over.
The Dallas Mavericks are led by one of the best coaches in the league. Rick Carlisle approached Monday night with the strategy of sending Rajon Rondo to the free throw line. Rondo is shooting 42 percent from the charity stripe on the season and the Mavericks wanted to use that to their advantage.
“That was a plus tonight, you know, one point per possession,” coach Carlisle said when addressing the Hack-A-Rondo strategy.
This was the first game this season in which a team truly did have this in their game plan. While it did not end the way they were hoping, Rondo still only finished shooting 7 of 14 from the line.
Despite the inexplicable free throw percentage, the former Celtic is having himself a tremendous bounce back season, that even with the animosity that was built-up last season in Dallas, Rondo’s former coach praised him for his excellent play this season.
“Rondo is having a great year like I expected. Anybody that knows him knew this was going to happen,” Carlisle said about his former point guard. “They’ve (Sacramento) created a great situation for him and he’s doing a good job with it.”
Seth Curry Stays Ready
“It’s extremely hard, I don’t know how he does it,” Collison said about Seth Curry staying ready when his name was called. “I don’t know how he just sits pretty much the whole game and comes in and pretty much starts hitting threes. He just has a knack.”
After suffering an ankle injury during the Houston Rockets game earlier in the season, Curry has been working rigorously to be ready when his name is called.
“It’s kind of what I’ve been waiting on, an opportunity to play some meaningful minutes, try to give us a little energy boost,” said a very confident Curry.
His name was called early in this contest. With the Kings down by 10 points, Curry was able to come in and completely change the atmosphere and feel of the game.
Number 30 is a true fan favorite in Sacramento, so of course when Curry steps on the floor, the crowd changes from whatever noise level they were at, and bring it straight to the next.
After a strong outing against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, Curry was looking to continue to show the progression in his game and be a solid contributor for this team while on the floor. The former D-League MVP was able to rack up a quick eight points in just 19 minutes of action.
“I thought he was big for us, he gave us that spark, we fed off of him and the crowd,” said Collison.
It will be interesting to see if head coach George Karl will start playing Curry with some consistent minutes. It should be noted that veteran Marco Belinelli saw a season low 15 minutes last night, and Curry may have gotten the extra run due to a bit of rest needed for their aging two guard.
The Sacramento Kings play Thursday in Mexico City, where they will be facing-off against Sacramento’s former Pizza Guy, and now Boston Celtic, Isaiah Thomas.
Who do you have winning?