LAS VEGAS – Not even a magnificent shooting performance by Cameron Payne could save the Dallas Mavericks on Monday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Payne was 7-of-12 from 3-point range and poured in a game-high 32 points. But it wasn’t enough as the Mavs blew a 15-point first-half lead en route to dropping a 105-101 decision to the Sacramento Kings in the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League.
The loss was the first of the summer for the Mavs and dropped their record to 2-1, while the Kings improved to 2-0. The Mavs will next play Croatia on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Dallas time at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Payne was superb as he drained five of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including four in a row that got the crowd buzzing and helped the Mavs fight back from a six-point deficit to a 98-95 lead with 2:42 remaining in the game. However, as Payne said, his torrid shooting display went for naught.
“It was open for me — it felt good,” Payne said. “But without winning, it don’t matter.
“Our goal was to come out and win every game, but it don’t always happen. The main thing is to come back next game and bounce back, so that’s our focus and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Once Payne caught fire, the Mavs did everything to get him the ball.
“He obviously got it going there and we were trying to get it to him, but the problem is (the Kings) know that too,” coach Mike Weinar said. “They scout, they understand who’s got it going, so they blitzed him a little bit.
“We tried to get him off the ball and get it back to him. That’s where when a guy is hot you try to get him the ball, and those other guys got to understand they still have to make plays, because so much attention is paid to those guys, just like premier players in the NBA.”
Following Payne’s fourth-quarter explosion, the Kings finished the game on a 10-3 run as they played more aggressive in the second half than the Mavs. Payne misfired from 3-point land with 11 seconds left that could have tied the game and a pair of free throws by Milton Doyle with 2.5 seconds left ended the drama.
“It’s not about wins and losses necessarily,” Weinar said. ”Obviously we want to win every game, but it’s whether we’re competing and doing the right things to build a culture and to build through what our guys are doing every day.
“I thought we, at times, really competed. I don’t know if we competed to the level of the first two games. We had some execution mistakes that we’ll clean up.”
The Mavs opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run and assume a 37-22 lead that was whittled down to 59-47 at the half. And in the second half the Kings kept chipping away and chipping away until they finally passed the Mavs at 78-77 early in the fourth quarter.
“I guess their coach went in at halftime and got on them and told them they weren’t playing hard enough,” said Payne, who was 9-of-17 from the field. “But in the second half they played harder than us.
“They were on the ground first — loose balls, rebounds. They just came out a little bit more physical than us.”
Rookie forward Isaiah Roby agreed.
“We came out soft,” Roby said. “They came out with a little energy, they were playing harder than us, they made big plays and we just didn’t show up in the end.
“The way we’ve been playing all week and in that first half is the kind of basketball (the Mavs want to play). We didn’t do that in the second half.”
Supporting Payne, the Mavs got 28 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks from Josh Reaves, 14 points and three steals from Antonius Cleveland, and 11 points from Daryl Macon.
The Kings shot 50.6 percent from the field to 46.5 percent for the Mavs. Sacramento also outfought the Mavs on the boards, 37-32.
“We gave up 46 points in the paint and that’s certainly not a number we want,” Weinar said. “We gave up 11 offensive rebounds and that’s not a number we want.
“Yeah, we were small for some of it, so you’re going to have to battle with those guys. It’s interesting to see who wants to get in there and scrap and get those rebounds. But again, I’ve said it every time: It goes back to hard play. That’s the baseline for everything we’re doing.”
And Weinar knows what the Mavs did against the Kings just wasn’t good enough.
“As we all know, there’s runs made in regular season basketball and postseason games and in the summer league, so you know guys are going to make runs,” Weinar said. “You can’t expect to put somebody away in the second quarter.
“I applaud Sacramento. They played hard and they got their guys going a little bit and we just needed to find a way to respond.”