- Last night we witnessed something spectacular, and oddly enough, it happened almost completely independent of the Mavericks’ performance. Dallas was present for the first 12 minutes of this game, but they may as well not have been; Sacramento put on a supernatural shooting display in the first quarter, a phenomenal happening given both the magnitude of the Kings’ explosion and how typically miserable the Kings are on every other day of the season. They currently rank 29th in the league in offensive efficiency, but after Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, and Donté Greene modified the limits of reason for their benefit, Sacramento scored at a rate of 160.9 points per 100 possessions. Unfathomable. Poor defense certainly played a role, but the Kings had reached a higher state of existence. Evans had a visible aura. Cousins was enlightened, swapping his usually questionable decision-making and fouling for efficient scoring and tough offensive rebounding. Greene clicked from inside and out, as his game finally centered itself.It’s pretty amazing that the Mavs were able to weather such a significant run at all, much less come sneak away with a victory. I know the Kings are still the Kings (and that the Kings who are still the Kings happen to be kings of abject failure this season), but this is a quality win.
- Dallas was just relentless. After a spirited win against the Jazz on Friday night, it would have been relatively simple for the Mavs to call it a night after enduring that kind of first quarter resistance on the second night of a back-to-back. They endured, and once Sacramento’s offense came back down to earth (though it never quite regressed to the mean; overall, Dallas’ defensive performance was still very much subpar), the better team found themselves in position to make this thing a game. The threes weren’t falling (Jason Kidd’s shooting was particularly hideous), but the Mavs drove, worked inside against a soft Kings defense, and got to the free throw line. Sacramento (11) may have doubled the Dallas (5) in three-point makes, but the Mavs were similarly dominant over their opponents in terms of free throw makes. Dallas finished with 24 made free throws in their 29 attempts, good for a 31.6 free throw rate — far above their season average. Dirk Nowitzki (25 points, 11-15 FG, five rebounds, five assists) was indomitable, but he wasn’t forced to be a go-to scorer (Jason Terry contributed 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, and the Mavs’ late-game offense didn’t need too many Dirk isolations). The Dallas offense just clicked throughout, and though it would never come close to matching the brilliance of Sacramento’s first quarter, sustained offensive effort and execution came out just two points better than the Kings’ peaks and valleys.Plus, for all of the defense’s troubles throughout the game, the Mavs really locked down in the fourth. They allowed just four points in the game’s final 5:24 seconds, and Tyson Chandler’s (10 points, seven rebounds) interior defense was particularly impressive down the stretch.Check out this beauty:
Rick Carlisle won’t be asking for seconds of an outing like this one, but Dallas got away with a win. We’ve seen Dallas beat good teams and bad, and both convincingly. Games like this happen, and though it would have been nice to see the Mavs play better defensively, take the W and move on.
You know the drill. The Difference is a quick-hitting (or in this case, day after) reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.