CK Press Box Report: Dallas Mavericks 117, Sacramento Kings 108

by Jonathan Santiago & James Ham

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With DeMarcus Cousins playing less than a quarter of action, the Sacramento Kings fell 117-108 to the Dallas Mavericks at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.  The starting center was benched by Keith Smart for what was called a “coach’s decision”.

After building a 27-18 lead in the first quarter, the Kings were outscored 99-81 in the ensuing three periods.  Dallas shot a stellar 57 percent from the field in the second to fourth quarters while Sacramento shot just 42 percent.

The Kings fall to 27-49 overall and 19-19 at home.  They’ve now lost four straight games at Sleep Train Arena.  The Kings return to action Sunday when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.

- Jonathan Santiago

Notes and Analysis

  • It was a strange night in Sacramento.  DeMarcus Cousins was benched and we don’t know why.  And he says he doesn’t know why.  So we must move on.  The Kings starting center played just nine minutes, all in the second quarter, finishing with six points and two rebounds.  The push for 30 wins may have run out of gas tonight in Sacramento.
  • With Cousins’ benched, Jason Thompson started at center and didn’t seem at all fazed.  He scored 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds.  Thompson really seems to enjoy the freedom of playing without Cousins in the lane.
  • Tyreke Evans was phenomenal tonight, scoring 26 points on 10-for-15 shooting, grabbing nine rebounds and handing out six assists.  When Evans lowered his shoulder and went to the rack, he was unstoppable.
  • Isaiah Thomas was determined to score as many points as possible.  He finished with a game-high 29 points on 9-for-20 shooting, so why is he buried as the fifth bullet?  Because he finished the game with only one assist in 36 minutes of action and went 0-for-7 from behind the arc.  With Marcus Thornton playing a total of six minutes, Thomas decided it was go time.
  • Darren Collison played incredibly well off the Mavericks bench, scoring 18 points and dishing out eight assists in 30 minutes.  It’s surprising that coach Carlisle uses Mike James as his starter and brings Collison off the bench.
  • Stat of the Night: Forward James Johnson, who hasn’t played in close to a month, finished with two assists on the night in just about nine minutes of play.  Thomas and Toney Douglas, the Kings’ primary ball-handlers, combined for two assists in 53 total minutes.

- James Ham

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Can Jason Thompson match his output from Wednesday’s game against the Rockets?

With his parents in attendance, Thompson finished with 16 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, his 12th double double of the season.  However, the veteran power forward was not his usual effective self, shooting just 6-of-13 from the field.  Not a bad game for Thompson, who usually plays well when his parents are present

2.  Will Vince Carter get hot from beyond the arc?

The veteran swingman was not a factor from deep this evening.  Carter scored just seven points and shot just 1-of-6 from 3-point range.  Shawn Marion was the veteran that made an impact for the Mavs tonight.  He led Dallas in scoring, finishing with 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and a team-high 12 rebounds.

3.  Which team wins the  first half?

The Kings opened up tonight’s game at a decent pace, outscoring the Mavs 27-18 in the first quarter.  However, Sacramento’s defensive effort left much be desired in the following period.  The Kings allowed Dallas to score 41 points and shoot 65 percent from the field in the second quarter.  Dallas led the Kings by just six at half, but they used that huge second quarter to catapult them to victory. 

- Jonathan Santiago

Quotes of the Game

Isaiah Thomas on whether his lack of assists were because of limited minutes for Marcus Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins:

A little bit.  I was just aggressive.  Like I said, I’m gonna watch film tonight.  But I made four or five plays (where) the guys didn’t just make the shot.  I’m not too worried about what the stat sheet says because that’s half the battle, half of what the game consists of. I don’t try to worry about (if) I’m going to get 10 assists this game, 10 points this game or 30 points this game.  I just try to play and make plays as I see what the defense gives (us).

Tyreke Evans on playing a little under the weather:

Little bit under the weather.  Still had to come out and play and try to help the team win tonight.  We had them in the beginning.  We wanted to get off to a fast start and we did that but we just couldn’t hold the lead.

Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle on how the Mavs came back from a slow start:

We started to get some stops.  This is a high-scoring team and it’s very rare that you’re going to hold them under 100 points.  We felt that if we kept them under or around 100, then we had a chance.  We were having a decent shot-making night.  We had a good balance and shared the ball well.  We also rebounded well, which was key.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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