Luka, Mavericks dominate Kings to climb West standings

Mar 26, 2024, 9:28 PM | Updated: 9:37 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 26: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots over Keegan Murra...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In a game with immense postseason implications, the Sacramento Kings didn’t have enough gas in the tank on Tuesday night.

The Kings entered play holding an identical record to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference standings and needed a win to secure all tie-breaker scenarios, but Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving would have none of that scenario.

Doncic and Irving combined for 52 points to lead a Dallas offense that shot 56 percent from three-point land during a 132-96 win over the Kings at Golden 1 Center.

It was a costly loss for Sacramento (42-30), who fell from sixth to seventh in the West standings and allowed the Los Angeles Lakers to pull within two games of themselves in the race for a playoff spot.

While the Kings might have been playing its fifth game in seven nights, their impressive defense disappeared against a Mavericks team that–like Sacramento–was also playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

It was a tough loss for the Beam Team–but they won’t have to wait long for a rematch, as these two teams will meet again at Golden 1 Center on Friday night.

Kings vs. Mavericks Recap & Takeaways

The Dallas Mavericks’ three-point shooting has been a struggle in recent weeks, but they didn’t have a tough time finding the bottom of the net early on Tuesday night.

Dallas entered play having shot 30 percent from deep over their past six games, but Sacramento’s defense let too many Mavericks shooters free during the first half–and unfortunately, Luka Doncic was one of them.

Doncic was the driving force behind Dallas’s red-hot start, scoring 26 points (nine-of-15 from the field) while grabbing seven boards, passing out five assists, and swiping three steals over 20 minutes.

The All-Star knocked down four of the Mavericks’ ten first-half triples, as Dallas went ten-for-18 (56%) from long range during the first two quarters to apply pressure to Sacramento’s defense.

Even with Doncic cooking and Dallas’ offense locked in, the Kings did enough to keep things close heading into the break. De’Aaron Fox’s 11-point second quarter and another strong start from Keegan Murray (11 first-half points) stopped the bleeding and kept the Mavericks’ lead to 58-53 heading into the third quarter.

Any hopes of Dallas’ three-point attack slowing after the break were dashed within the first four minutes of the second half.

The Mavericks knocked down three of their first four attempts from deep to open up the third quarter and take their largest lead of the night at 73-61 with 8:30 to go until the fourth.

Kyrie Irving, who scored just six points during the first half, exploded for 12 points during the third quarter to lead a 24-10 run out of the gates–one that put the Kings down by 19 points and essentially put the game out of reach for good.

Sacramento could never hold the Dallas offense in check for extended periods, and the deadly tandem of Doncic and Irving made them pay.

During the first half, it was Doncic who gave the Kings fits (26 points), but the MVP candidate scored just two points for the remainder of the game. Irving took over in the second half (18 points) and put the final nail in the coffin for Sacramento, who allowed 120+ points for the first time in ten games.

The Kings’ 36-point loss was tied for their most lopsided defeat of the season (11/20/23 @ New Orleans), and it happened in front of a national audience on TNT.

If Sacramento wants to wash away the ugly loss in a timely manner, Friday’s rematch can’t come soon enough. The Kings will need a win over the Mavericks to secure the tiebreaker and jump back into a tie with Dallas in the standings.

Another loss to the Mavs would put Sacramento two games behind Doncic and his teammates in the West with just eight games remaining, meaning that Friday might not be a “must-win” game, but it’s getting close to that time with the regular season winding down.


  • Sacramento surrendered 21 points off of their 14 turnovers during the losing effort.
  • Domantas Sabonis recorded his 55th consecutive double-double, tying Jerry Lucas (55, 1/2-3/20/68) for the longest double-double streak in franchise history. Sabonis is now tied with Lucas and Elvin Hayes (11/28/73-3/12/74) for the ninth-longest streak in NBA history.
  • For the first time since January 7th, no member of the Kings offense finished with 20 points. Sacramento is 0-6 this season in those games.

Injury Updates

The Kings announced last week that Kevin Huerter had suffered a left shoulder dislocation and labral tear. Huerter does not have a timetable for his return.

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 and Dallas will take two days off before returning to the table on Friday for another important playoff-implications matchup at Golden 1 Center.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Mavericks coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, March 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 PM PST
  • 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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