Final: Kings 112, Mavs 98
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Why Hack-A-(Rajon)-Rondo, as the Mavs did three times in the first half? The answer is pretty simple. Rondo entered the game shooting 37.5 percent from the charity stripe this season and knocked down just two of his six attempts in the first 24 minutes, all of which came during the second quarter. That amounts to just 0.667 points per possession for the Kings on those three possessions, whereas the club averaged 1.08 points per trip down the floor overall for the half. Any time you can make up points like that, you’ve got to.
Turnover margin is a big thing to watch with the Mavs this season. Dallas is 8-0 when it turns the ball over less than its opponent, but just 2-8 when it doesn’t. There are plenty of other factors in every game, but turnovers are huge. Not only do they keep your offense from shooting, but they can often give your opponents easy shots. Limiting mistakes is a key to victory, especially on the road.
Dirk Nowitzki became the 13th player in NBA history with 10,000 career field goals made. The only other active players who have achieved the milestone are Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan. It’s tough to tell where Nowitzki will end up on the list, but at this rate it’s almost certain that he’ll crack the top-10, if not the top-5. Add that to an already long list of milestones Nowitzki as reached in his incredible career.
Rajon Rondo was an inconsistent three-point shooter with the Mavericks last season, but heading into tonight’s contest he was shooting 35.7 percent on the season on 42 attempts. He came out gunning in the first quarter, attempting three treys in the game’s opening minutes, connecting on two of them. Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has added the shot to his arsenal as well this season, and he attempted three of his own in the first six minutes of the contest, connecting on one. It’s always surprising to see big men so willingly shoot the three-ball, which is in part what makes Dirk Nowitzki such a unique player — we’re used to seeing him hoist the long-ball.
Rick Carlisle preaches the importance of getting off to a fast start, often using the adage “it’s a first-quarter league” when describing how vital the early portion of the game can be. Dallas jumped out to a nice lead in this game, going up 32-23 at the end of the first frame behind 7 points from Chandler Parsons and 6 from both Zaza Pachulia and Wesley Matthews. Dallas turned 5 Kings turnovers into 7 points in the frame. Good defense always leads to easy offense. The Mavs’ 32 points in the first quarter matched a season-high, according to Basketball-Reference, and Dallas is 5-1 this season when scoring more than 25 points in the opening stanza.
The Mavs ran a neat play in the first quarter. With Wesley Matthews playing the small forward spot, Dallas ran a 1-3 pick-and-roll with Matthews and Deron Williams in an effort to force Williams’ man to switch over to Matthews. The idea is that, if they do switch, Matthews will have a size mismatch in the post. It briefly worked but the Kings immediately switched back. Whenever they did, Matthews slipped out to the three-point line and got an open look at the basket. It’s always interesting to see how coaches can creatively put their players in a position to be successful.
The Mavs (10-8) play the Portland Trail Blazers (7-10) Tuesday at the Moda Center. Tip-off is at 9 p.m. Central.