SACRAMENTO -- You never know which Kings team is going to show up from one night to the next. On the second night of a back-to-back, the gritty, active, energy version of the 2020-21 squad came to play against a solid Dallas Mavericks team and the results were positive.
For the second time in a week, the Kings out hustled and out muscled the Mavs. Despite missing leading scorer De’Aaron Fox and losing Harrison Barnes in the third, the Kings held on for a 113-106 win.
Luka Doncic didn’t torch the Kings like the last time these two teams played, but he still managed to drop in a 24-point, eight-assist, seven-rebound performance. Trey Burke led the Mavs bench with 19 points and Tim Hardaway Jr added 19 in the loss.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings found a way to win short-handed to move to 25-36 on the season.
Making the most of minutes
After missing five games with a hamstring injury, Richaun Holmes returned to the court Sunday in the Kings’ narrow loss to the Golden State Warriors. When Holmes spoke to reporters following the game, he said he felt great and would play against Dallas on the second night of a back-to-back.
Despite being on a minutes restriction from the Kings’ sports science team, Holmes was a major contributor for Sacramento, much like he has been all season long.
Holmes started the scoring for the Kings with a push shot in the lane, but that was only the start. He finished the game with 24 points on 9-for-12 shooting and added six rebounds and two blocks in 25 minutes of action.
With Holmes’ minutes being limited, Damian Jones came off the Kings bench to chip in a solid 8-point, 7-rebound performance.
Two point guards?
Do we have a point guard controversy brewing in Sacramento? Absolutely not. De’Aaron Fox is the guy now and for another decade or so in Kingsland. But Tyrese Haliburton is showing fans a glimpse of what the future holds.
The rookie guard stepped in for Fox for a second straight game and didn’t disappoint. The 21-year-old has an incredible grasp of the game and his teammates are the direct beneficiary of his skills.
Haliburton managed to finish the night with 14 points and 10 assists for his fourth double-double of the season. He added three steals and four rebounds in the win.
Black Falcon down
Barnes has been extremely durable for the Kings this season and on most nights, he’s been a big time contributor. Against the Mavs, he was having a great game, but after a drive to the hoop in the third quarter, he left the court in noticeable discomfort.
The early word on Barnes is that he had left adductor tightness, which ended his night after 24 minutes of action.
Barnes was tremendous before the injury, finishing the night with 19 points on 7-of-10 from the field to go with six rebounds and two assists. If he’s out for an extended stretch, the Kings’ chances of winning many of their remaining 11 games took a hit.