DALLAS –Luka Doncic registered his seventh triple-double of the season Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough in the Dallas Mavericks’ quest to beat the Sacramento Kings.
Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox combined for 22 points in the fourth quarter and the Kings defeated the Mavs for the second time in six days, winning 125-121, in front of a sellout crowd of 20,168.
With the loss the Mavs dropped to 29-45 going into Thursday’s game in Miami, while the Kings squared their won-loss record at 37-37.
After beating the Mavs in Sacramento last Thursday, 116-100, on Tuesday the Kings outscored the Mavs, 18-9, over the game’s final 3:04. Meanwhile, Fox tallied 10 of Sacramento’s final 21 points, Hield scored eight of those points and Bogdan Bogdanovic had the other three.
“We had some turnovers that led to some of those opportunities,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Coming into the game we felt our No. 1 key was ball security and taking care of it. Eleven turnovers (for the Mavs) sounds pretty good, but they had seven and we had untimely ones in the fourth that led to a lot of their opportunities.
“And yes, (Fox and Hield) are very good. Fox, once again, was an enormous problem. I thought the play that really defined the game was him getting that offensive rebound off the drive.”
Dwight Powell split a pair of free throws to draw the Mavs within one point of the Kings with 57.7 seconds remaining. Then, Fox wiggled his way inside the paint, misfired on a short shot, but grabbed the offensive rebound and scored with 26.2 seconds left that put Sacramento ahead, 121-117.
From there, the two teams basically kept trading free throws until Hield iced it with a pair of charity tosses with 4.2 seconds to go that accounted for the final points of the game.
Indeed, it was a disappointing loss for the Mavs, who led 89-87 entering the fourth quarter, but just couldn’t come up with the crucial rebound or defensive stop when it needed to.
“It comes down to execution,” guard Devin Harris said. “We’ve had our Achilles heel. Sometimes it’s free throws, sometimes it’s turnovers. Tonight, it was offensive rebounds. We just got to do better.”
Doncic wound up with 28 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high tying 12 assists and tied Magic Johnson for the third-most triple-double by a rookie with seven. It also was the first time this season Doncic has had triple-doubles in consecutive games—he had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists Saturday against Golden State.
“He’s been playing great, seeing the floor a lot better, understanding when to attack and when to get other people involved,” Harris said. “He’s stepping up his game, especially during a time when we need it.”
Powell also was very effective for the Mavs as he collected 21 points, grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots. Powell was 6-of-7 from the field, with four of his baskets coming on alley-oop dunks – two of them from Doncic.
“They’re developing a nice connection,” Harris said of Doncic and Powell. “Our shooters are making shots, so it’s harder to come in on the (pick and) roll and leave (Powell) open a lot, and we’re doing a great job getting him the ball.”
The Kings, though, manufactured more critical plays than the Mavs. Plus, Sacramento outscored the Mavs in the paint (58-38), on second-chance points (22-14) and on fast break points (22-4), while also beating them on the offensive glass, 12-7.
Dallas was down, 15-7, with 7:32 left in h first quarter following a 3-pointer and 3-point play by former Mavs forward Harrison Barnes.
“We just didn’t start the game off well,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored nine first-half points, but didn’t play in the second half. “We had our chances and didn’t close rh way we wanted to.”
Besides Doncic and Powell, Maxi Kleber scored 17 points for the Mavs, Jalen Brunson had 15 points and Ryan Broekhoff added 11 points. For the Kings, Fox tallied 23 points, Barnes poured in 18, Hield scored 17, and rookie Marvin Bagley III and Bogdanovic scored 14 point apiece.
NOTES: Exactly 40 years ago on Tuesday — on Mar. 26, 1979 — Michigan State’s Magic Johnson and Indiana State’s Larry Bird played one of the more memorable NCAA championship games in college basketball history. So where was Rick Carlisle at the time? “I was sitting in my room at Worcester Academy in (Worcester) Massachusetts — prep school – and watching the game on a black and white TV,” Carlisle, now coach of the Mavs, said. “It was amazing watching those guys play because it was two college guys, in what was becoming the modern TV era, that were larger than life. I remember the game started off and Michigan State won the tip and Magic tossed it blindly behind his back and they dunked the ball, and Michigan State kind of got going from there. It was a tough game for Indiana State, but that game was historic on a lot of levels. It brought the visibility of March Madness up a real notch on a national basis. Larry and Magic would go on to really resurrect the NBA in the ensuing four or five years.” Michigan State defeated Indiana State, 75-64, in that championship game. And ironically, Bird and Carlisle were teammates when the Boston Celtics won the 1986 NBA title. . .Last Thursday before the Mavs played the Kings in Sacramento, Kings coach Dave Joerger boldly said that his rookie, Marvin Bagley III, will win this year’s Rookie of the Year award. Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Mavs, Joerger didn’t back down. “I’ve got the Rookie of the Year (in Bagley) on my roster and just try to get him better every single day,” Joerger said. “His level of talent pushes coaches to make sure we’re on point and challenging him every day. He’s just been a joy to coach.” Asked a few minutes later about his Rookie of the Year comment, Joerger said: “He’s the Rookie of the Year. On my roster.” However, there’s only one tiny problem – OK, it’s a gigantic problem — with the Bagley Rookie of the Year candidacy. He plays in the Western Conference, and so far this year there have been four Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards handed out. And Mavs rookie Luka Doncic has won all four of them, making him the odds-on favorite to win the prestigious Rookie of the Year trophy. . .Tuesday’s triple-double by Doncic ties him with Magic Johnson (1979-’80) for third on the list of triple-doubles by a rookie with seven. Oscar Robertson (1960-’61) tops the list with 26 and Ben Simmons (2017-’18) is second with 12. Also, the 20-year old Doncic and Johnson are now tied for the most triple-doubles by a player under 21 in NBA history. . . The Mavs showed a video tribute to Harrison Barnes on the Jumbotron late in the first quarter. Barnes spent the previous two-and-a-half years with the Mavs before they traded him to the Kings on Feb. 6. “He deserved a warm reception, and he had the kind of game that you come to expect from him,” Carlisle said. “He had some timely buckets. He’s in a good situation and I’m happy for him. I wish we still had him here because he’s a helluva player, but business is business.”