Kings blow fourth quarter lead, drop costly game to Mavericks

Mar 29, 2024, 9:55 PM

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 29: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots and scores over ...

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

On the heels of what was arguably their worst loss of the season on Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks, the Sacramento Kings had an opportunity to brush off the defeat and enact revenge on their Western Conference counterpart on Friday.

The Kings entered the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, but the game slipped through their fingers as Dallas secured another win that pushed Sacramento further out of the Playoff picture and closer to an NBA Play-In situation.

Thanks to a red-hot showing in the fourth (61% FG), the Mavericks completed a 107-103 comeback win that extinguished the Kings’ chances of clinching the regular season series and pulling even with Dallas in the standings.

With just nine games remaining in the regular season schedule, Sacramento (42-31) trails the sixth-seed Mavs by two games and the Phoenix Suns by a half-game as they will enter the weekend in possession of the eighth seed in the standings.

It was a disappointing result for the Kings, who needed to win at least one of their two matchups against Dallas, both of which took place at Golden 1 Center.

Instead, Sacramento will enter the final two weeks of the season hoping to–at worst–claim the seventh seed and homecourt in the Play-In Tournament.

Kings vs. Mavericks Recap & Takeaways

While Sacramento’s start to Tuesday’s game was slow and lacked energy, they wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes during Friday’s rematch.

The Kings played with speed and aggression early, jumping Dallas with a 27-14 game-opening run fueled by two unlikely scorers: Harrison Barnes and Keon Ellis. With De’Aaron Fox experiencing another slow start on offense and Malik Monk (right knee) ruled out for the rest of the night, Sacramento got a boost from Barnes and Ellis, who scored 11 points each during the first quarter.

Thanks to contributions from Barnes (17 first-half points), Ellis, and De’Aaron Fox (10 points in the second quarter), the Kings led by as many as 15 points during the first half en route to taking a 60-51 lead into the break.

On Tuesday, the Mavericks set a new season-high by shooting 56 percent from three-point range. This time, Dallas only converted five of their 17 (29%) attempts from deep during the first half, as Sacramento remained in control for the first 24 minutes of play.

The Mavericks made their move early in the third quarter, cutting the Kings’ lead to four points–but Sacramento would respond.

With Monk out of action, head coach Mike Brown filled the Sixth Man of the Year favorite’s minutes with defensive specialist Kessler Edwards, but defense wasn’t the only thing that Edwards brought to the table on Friday.

Edwards, who entered play having made just 14 triples over 46 games this season, knocked down both of his attempts from deep during the third quarter to help the Kings keep space between themselves and Dallas.

Along with Edwards’ boost off the bench, strong minutes from Davion Mitchell on both ends of the floor aided efforts from Fox and Domantas Sabonis as Sacramento took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter.

It seemed as if the Kings could be on the way to coasting to a win, but as we have learned this season, nothing is easy for the 2023-24 Sacramento Kings.

The Mavericks opened up the fourth quarter on a 21-10 run that would give them their first lead of the night with just over six minutes remaining, and the writing was on the wall for the final stretch of crunch time.

Dante Exum’s go-ahead triple put Dallas ahead by three with 27 seconds to go, and the Kings got sloppy on their end of the floor, with Barnes’ missed open triple and a game-sealing turnover putting the finishing touches on a 34-21 quarter for the Mavericks.

“We can’t give up 34 points in the fourth quarter,” Fox said of his team’s failure to contain Dallas in the fourth. “Being outscored by 13 points in the fourth quarter isn’t going to win you many games.”

Sacramento had their chances late, with Fox, Barnes, and more missing multiple go-ahead attempts during the final minutes of action.

The Kings didn’t score a single point during the final 2:35 of regulation, while the Mavs continued to feed Exum for attempts from deep. After missing his first two open looks, the former top-ten pick made Sacramento’s defense pay with a game-winning triple to silence a packed house at Golden 1 Center.

During the fourth, the Kings went seven-for-21 (33%) from the field as Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving closed things out, as the duo combined for 21 points in the final period–as many points as Sacramento as a team.

Following the loss, head coach Mike Brown stated his displeasure with the free-throw discrepancy, noting that the game wasn’t consistently officiated.

Dallas ended the night with 33 free-throw attempts, and Sacramento took 12 shots from the foul line. “33 to 12 in a tight ballgame,” Brown said. “That’s not consistency.”

Overall, it was a tough night for the Kings, who will now wait for word on Malik Monk’s knee injury before setting their sights on Sunday’s very important matchup against the sub-500 Utah Jazz.

Notes & Stats

  • Domantas Sabonis recorded his 56th consecutive double-double vs. Dallas, setting a new franchise record for the longest overall double-double streak in franchise history. He passes Jerry Lucas, who had a 55-game streak over two seasons from Jan. 2 to Nov. 6, 1968.

Injury Updates

Malik Monk (right knee) was injured during the first quarter after Mavericks star Luka Doncic appeared to fall on his leg following an attempt near the basket. While Monk walked to the locker room under his own strength, he did not return for the remainder of the game. More information on Monk’s injury will become available before Sacramento’s game on Sunday vs. Utah.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Kevin Huerter (left dislocated shoulder and labral tear) will miss the remainder of the season. Huerter will undergo surgery and is slated to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season.

Trey Lyles is set to be reevaluated next week after suffering a left knee MCL sprain on March 12th.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will continue its five-game homestand on Sunday afternoon when they face the Utah Jazz at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings have just three remaining games against teams with a sub-500 record, and the matchup against Utah will preface a rough stretch that will see Sacramento’s next three opponents hold winning percentages of .600 or higher.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Jazz coverage, beginning at 4:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Sunday, March 31st – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 6:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 7:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, April 4th – Sacramento Kings @ New York Knicks – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, April 5th – Sacramento Kings @ Boston Celtics – 4:30 PM PST

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