1. With four wins in their last five outings, the Dallas Mavericks welcomed Rajon Rondo (the NBA equivalent of Joffrey from Game of Thrones) into the American Airlines Center for their third matchup of the season on Thursday. Despite what their records may indicate, these two teams have been pretty evenly matched in their previous meetings, and Thursday was more of the same. Unfortunately for Dallas, it was the Kings who emerged on the other side with a 104-101 win, ending the Mavs three-game winning streak in the process.
It was a slow torture ...
Said Dirk Nowitzki, whose team saw the snapping of a 22-game home win streak against Sacto: "This is obviously a tough one. They were on a back-to-back. We've got to find a way to somehow win this game, and we didn't."
2. We’ve been talking a lot about David Lee lately, and for good reason. The Mavs newest acquisition continues to fit in seamlessly with the current rotation, and is deserving of consideration to at least be in the discussion for a starting role at this point. The Mavs needed help in the frontcourt, and Lee has brought that in spades so far.
3. The first quarter ended pretty much according to the script, with the Mavs leading the Kings by a 24-19 margin. Lee led the Mavs with six points and four boards off the bench, while Rondo led the way for Sacramento with four points.
You had the lead. But you didn't have a great feeling here ...
Said coach Rick Carlisle: “It’s disappointing, but we didn’t deserve it. We didn’t play well enough. Even the first quarter where we ended up on a very good run to end the quarter, we just didn’t have much traction at either end. We were lucky they were missing some shots. From there forward, we allowed it to be their kind of game and not our kind of game.”
4. Rondo, much to the chagrin on the hooting fans at the AAC, had himself a pretty good game on Thursday, scoring 18 points and dishing out 12 dimes.
That being said, he’s always been able to get himself up for revenge-type games, and this seemed to be one of those for him.
5. Despite the Mavs offensive explosion over the last few games, it was evident early on that this was going to be more of a defensive struggle than Dallas has been use to lately.
6. Chandler Parsons however, did his best to keep the Mavs offense on track with 28 points on 12/17 shooting. Outside of CP and Lee, the Mavs struggled to get anything going, and when Boogie is on the other end, that makes it exponentially more difficult to succeed.
7. Sacramento, led by its bench, made a move for the lead in the second quarter, outscoring Dallas by 10 and taking a 50-45 lead into the locker room. The Mavs were just 1-11 from deep in the quarter, and shot 42-percent to the Kings 50-percent in the half.
8. The Kings are a bit of a dysfunctional bunch. At 24-35, the Kings have struggled to gain any traction in the Western Conference. Outside of Cousins and a resurgent year from Rondo, the Kings don’t really have too much going in the way of consistency. Rudy Gay is a solid player on the wing, but this team is all about Boogie, and that may not last too much longer, with Boogie constantly in the midst of trade discussions around the league.
9. Speaking of Boogie, he is a monster. Aside from his 22-point,13-rebound performance in this game, Cousins has been dominating the league on a nightly basis, and it could be easily argued that he is the best center in the NBA right now.
On the season, Cousins is averaging 27.1 points and 11.4 rebounds per contest, and he’s even shooting 36-percent from beyond the arc. He’s a terrifying matchup for just about any team in the league, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
10. The third quarter followed the script of the rest of the game, with a tightly-contested, modest scoring frame. Sacramento managed to keep the Mavs in a halfcourt game throughout most of the contest, including this quarter. The key to the Mavs' success of late has been spacing and tempo, and they had a tough time getting that going here.
11. it seemed as though, no matter what the Mavs drew up, they just couldn’t penetrate the Sacramento defense. The Kings had an excellent defensive game plan in this one, and it frustrated the Mavs all night long.
12. The Mavs' struggles continued throughout the fourth quarter, as they failed to close the gap on the Kings, eventually falling to Sacramento 104-101. The Mavs made a push at the end, but unfortunately for Mavs fans, it was too-little/too-late. The loss snaps a three-game win streak for the Mavs, who ended their six-game home stand with 4-2 record. While the homestand is a win overall, this one in particular stings for Dallas, considering who handed them this loss on the other end.
Said Rick: "It’s tough because we had a chance to end the homestand the right way, but we didn’t deserve it.”
Stat(s) of the night: Poor outside shooting. The Mavs shot just 7-of-29 from three in this game, and couldn’t seem to get anything to go down all night long.
The game was over when… Darren Collison, the ex-Mav, hit a pair of free throws to put the Kings up five with four seconds to go in the game. That came after Dallas failed to secure a rebound that might've kept chances alive.
Should have seen coming... Rondo playing well in a revenge game. Say what you want about Rondo, but the guy gets up to play his old teams. The locker room carcinogen has always been that way. That’s just the way it is.
Here's Collison on Rondo: “He played excellent. As anyone who would come back and return to their old team, it’s not easy. There are a lot of things going through your mind. You want to play well but he obviously exceeded expectations for what he wanted to do and he enjoyed this night.
“I’m sure he wasn’t happy about how the situation ended. ... He is very happy and you can see it on his face. He deserves it.”
Couldn't see coming... A cold night in Dallas. The Mavs have been on fire offensively in the last few games, averaging 120.6 points per game in their last five outings. Here, they couldn't do anything to make their shots fall, and it cost them the game.
What's next?: There is no Mavericks practice today. The Mavs head to Mile High to take on the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver at 4 on Sunday afternoon. The Mavs will look to rebound against a team they defeated in overtime on February 26th, looking to start a new win streak.
The Final Word: "It’s obviously not ideal. We just didn’t play well enough, long enough. Give credit to them. We fell into trap into playing the way they did, missed some shots, but we gotta salvage what we did well, and go into Denver and make sure we take care of that one. We have another home stretch we gotta make sure we take care of.” - Wes Matthews.