Kings Choke Away 24-Point Lead, Lose 106-98 to Mavericks


The Sacramento Kings cannot win a game in Dallas.

Losers of 20 straight in “Big D,” the Royal Purple hoped to buck the trend with a big win tonight.

Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks had other ideas.

With a 20-foot jumper at the 8:27 mark in the fourth quarter, the greatest international player in basketball history surpassed Hakeem Olajuwon to claim the ninth spot on the All-time Scoring list. Dirk’s game isn’t dependent on athleticism; he should climb the list before he decides to hang it up.

The Kings, however, wanted Dirk’s record-breaking night to have an asterisk.

They started the game on an 8-0 run — displaying fluidity on offense and tenacious defense — and jumped out to a 32-14 lead after one.

Everything was falling. Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore were unstoppable. The Kings got to the foul line with ease and dominated the boards. A poor outing against the Oklahoma City Thunder was well on its way to becoming a memory. 

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But basketball is a game of runs, and the Kings were ill-prepared for the hard-charging Mavericks on this historic night.

The Mavericks chipped away with timely contributions from Chandler Parsons and Monta Ellis to cut the deficit to nine points at half, 57-48.

After the intermission, the Kings were their own worst enemy.

They engaged in ticky-tack basketball and fouled with reckless abandon. Derrick Williams— a player who’s absorbed “bust” talk throughout his career–accrued three fouls in one minute of action. Ryan Hollins came in to spell a tired and foul-troubled DeMarcus Cousins and immediately picked up two fouls.

The Mavericks took advantage of the freebies and reclaimed the momentum.

They dominated the rest of the game. Cousins and Gay were double-teamed whenever they touched the ball, and the supporting cast failed to provide badly needed energy on defense.

The Kings were deflated in the fourth quarter, often standing around and watching the on-ball defender do all the work.

Down seven with 3:00 left in the game, Ellis jacked up a shot after failing to absorb contact in the air. The entire Kings’ defense watched the eventual airball float through the air. Tyson Chandler noticed the defensive gaffe, grabbed the ball unimpeded, and slammed home the dagger.

The Mavericks cruised over the next three minutes and capped off an excellent second-half with a 106-98 win.

The Kings held a 24-point lead early in the game, making the sting of the loss even more painful. It wasn’t all bad, but the Royal Purple is inconsistent and struggles to piece together a complete performance.

Ramon Sessions was fantastic as a replacement to Darren Collison (shoulder; day-to-day). He racked up 18-points with just one turnover and showed leadership ability.

Gay lead all scorers with 26, and Cousins–although limited by fouls, again–produced his fifth double-double of the season in the loss.

The 5-3 Kings now travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Thursday. The game will mark the end of a four-game road trip and, hopefully, a return to their winning ways.