Sacramento Kings need to limit turnovers and increased physicality in Friday’s rematch

Mar 28, 2024, 11:34 AM

Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks go for a ...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 26: Domantas Sabonis #10 of the Sacramento Kings and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Dallas Mavericks go for a loose ball in the first half at Golden 1 Center on March 26, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Three days after suffering a 132-96 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Sacramento Kings will have a chance for redemption in Golden 1 Center. Holding significant Western Conference seeding implications, Sacramento must put together a significantly more competitive effort to secure the season-series win, currently holding a 2-1 lead.

On Tuesday, Dallas converted its highest three-point percentage of the season (22/39 — 56.4 percent) while managing 34 assists on 51 made shots. Luka Doncic scored 26 points in the first half, while Kyrie Irving added 18 in the second, but it was the others who really put the Kings’ hopes away.

Doncic and Irving were rolling, and although Sacramento could have provided more resistance, eventual double-teams were warranted to take the ball out of their hands. “You hope that (the other guys) miss, but if they make shots, then at the end of the day, you say, ‘Hey, I’m going to live with that,'” Brown said.

No matter how much Brown and his team were willing to hope the Mavericks’ role players would miss, they didn’t. PJ Washington went 4/6 from beyond the arc. Tim Hardaway Jr. was 4/6. Dante Exum and Derrick Jones Jr. each knocked down two.

“(Doncic and Irving) got it out, just simply to the open man, and they let that open man make a play when we had to rotate to them,” Brown said. “You just live with whoever takes a shot at that time.”

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Brown’s postgame press conferences often focus on his team’s defensive performance. Yet, on a night when Sacramento conceded 132 points, he highlighted the underwhelming offensive production. Sacramento tallied 13 turnovers, with Domantas Sabonis (4), De’Aaron Fox (3), and Malik Monk (3) combining for ten.

21 of Dallas’s 132 points came off those mishaps. When you pair that with 18 fast-break points, it’s easier to understand why Brown focused on the offense.

Dallas implemented similar double teams to Sacramento’s on Tuesday but found significantly more success. “Our team sometimes gets into the mode where the guy who has the ball thinks he has to make the assist, and sometimes it’s the hockey assist that kills teams,” Brown said.

It’s not the same Mavericks team the Kings defeated twice earlier in the season. Acquiring Washington and Daniel Gafford at the deadline and re-inserting Derrick Jones Jr. into the starting lineup has drastically changed their defense. Like Miami and Houston, Dallas excels at packing the paint and disrupting drivers looking to kick out to shooters — the oh-so-valued spray threes.

Whether Gafford or Lively II was on the floor, they pressured Sabonis as he attempted to make plays with dribble hand-offs around the elbow. Brown bluntly said postgame that his All-NBA caliber center needs to occasionally put the ball on the deck and go by his matchup when defended in that manner.

“They were more physical. They got into the ball,” Fox said. “They pressured us, and we weren’t able to get into our offense, and that allowed them to get easy buckets, and once good players see the ball go in the basket, there’s nothing you can do about it. We didn’t do a good job on the defensive end either.”

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The Kings’ lack of paint touches led to limited points in the paint and just four ‘spray threes’ attempted in the second half. Unideal production, considering they aim to put 20 up each showing.

Defensively, their physicality and decisiveness while doubling will need to be on Friday.

Starting the game with Sabonis guarding Washington was an attempt to limit Dallas’s exceptional playmakers’ ability to attack him in the pick-and-roll. Subsqeuently, the Mavericks quickly adjusted by having Washington function as the screen setter.

With a marginal 58-53 lead at halftime, Dallas ran away with the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Kings 38-23. Fox called it “one of our worst halves of the season,” and it’s easy to see why. The benches played most of the fourth quarter, while a Mavericks win was all but a formality.

“In the third quarter, it just felt like they got whatever they wanted,” Keegan Murray said.

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Recent defensive improvements were nowhere to be found, leaving a minimal margin for error on the other end. With Friday’s matchup holding substantial play-in implications, the Kings will need to hit singles on offense, find paint touches leading to spray threes and increase their defensive physicality for as close to 48 minutes as possible.

All season, their brand of basketball has been playing fast, physical, and together and they will need an ideal combination in their final regular season matchup with Dallas.

The Sacramento Kings ‘Latest Formula’ for Success: Defense and Possessions

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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Sacramento Kings need to limit turnovers and increased physicality in Friday’s rematch