An Un-Happy New Year: Kings Suffer Second Half Meltdown In Loss To Mavericks

Dec 31, 2021, 5:24 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 31: Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Sacramento Kings drives past Regg...
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As the Sacramento Kings close the book on 2021, they couldn’t do so without one last meltdown

When Tyrese Haliburton drilled a three-pointer to tie things up at 67-67 with 9:19 remaining in the third quarter on Friday afternoon, it looked as if the Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks were headed for another back-and-forth ending.

Back-and-forth? Not quite.

Dallas went on a 24-2 run in the third quarter to snap Sacramento’s three-game winning streak as the Kings fell 112-96 in front of a New Year’s Eve crowd at Golden 1 Center.

With the loss, the Kings (15-22) miss out on a chance to gain ground in the Western Conference standings as they fall to a full game out of the 10th spot.

It was the De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton show in the first quarter as the duo combined for 16 points on five-of-six shooting over the first 12 minutes of play. Sacramento used the strong start from its starting backcourt to take a 39-34 lead into the second period.

Sacramento knocked down six of their nine attempts from beyond the three-point arc in the first quarter, but the defense was unable to contain Dallas as their 10-point lead was cut in half.

The red-hot Haliburton scored 14 points on a perfect five-of-five shooting in the first half, but Kristaps Porzingis (12 first-half points) and the Mavericks were able to gain the upper-hand and take a 62-56lead into the halftime break.

As if it were Groundhog Day rather than New Year’s Eve, the Kings once again suffered a meltdown in the third quarter as Dallas used a 24-2 run to increase its lead to 91-69 with less than four minutes remaining in the period.

Sacramento looked completely lost in every way during the second half and could never really get back into the game as Dallas got its revenge for Wednesday night’s Chimezie Metu buzzer-beater.

It was another embarrassing meltdown that we have seen time and time again over the course of the past two seasons.

After scoring the second-most points in a single quarter (39) in the first, the Kings offense fell asleep at the wheel while Dallas completely had a field day on their end of the floor.

De’Aaron Fox was on the attack in the first quarter, scoring 10 points over the first eight minutes of play–but the guard wouldn’t score again for the remainder of the game.

At some point, the Sacramento Kings need to make some significant upgrades to the defense on this roster if they ever want to break the never-ending habit of falling apart late in games. Opposing teams continue to make halftime adjustments and the Kings never have an answer.

If not for Chimezie Metu’s heroics on Wednesday night, the Kings would have lost two-straight games to a Dallas Mavericks team that was missing not one, not two, but ten players due to injury or COVID-19 Health & Safety protocols.

Kings GM Monte McNair has yet to show his cards on what he plans to do with this roster.

In order to break out of this cycle, a shakeup can’t come soon enough.

Silver Lining

While the Kings laid an egg, Tyrese Haliburton kept on chugging along.

The talented guard posted his third-straight double-double and seventh over his last eight games during Friday’s loss, scoring 17 points to go along with four rebounds and 10 assists over 33 minutes.

Haliburton is the first King to post eight-straight games with 12+ points and 7+ assists since Reggie Theus did so during April of 1987.

Injury Updates

Kings guard Terence Davis sat out Friday afternoon due to ankle soreness that he sustained during pregame warmups. According to head coach Alvin Gentry, Davis “just needed a day” and is considered day-to-day going forward.

Marvin Bagley III took a hit to the right thumb in the fourth quarter, but the forward returned and finished the game. Gentry shared that tests on the 22-year-old came back negative and that the injury isn’t serious.

“I’m good,” Bagley added postgame on the injury. “It was bothering me and I just wanted to get it checked out. But I’m good.”

Coming Up

Happy New Year, Kings fans!

Sacramento will open up the 2022 half of the schedule on Sunday afternoon when they conclude a six-game home-stand against the Miami Heat.

Last season, Miami swept the two-game set between both teams, with the most recent game taking place on February 18, 2020: a 118-110 Heat win at Golden 1 Center.

You can ring in the New Year with with Kings vs Heat coverage on Sports 1140 KHTK beginning at 1:30pm PST on Game Night with Scott Marsh and Henry ‘The High Flyer’ Turner prior to a 3:00pm PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.


(Chris Watkins / Sactown Sports Digital)...
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