After a devastating overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday evening, the Sacramento Kings almost had a replay Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. After leading by 20 at the half, the Kings melted down in the fourth quarter.
Luka Doncic missed a runner in the final seconds that would have tied the game and Richaun Holmes ripped down a rebound to help preserve the 110-106 win for Sacramento.
Tim Hardaway Jr. knocked down nine 3-pointers to keep the Mavs in the game and Doncic dropped in a near triple-double performance, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings surprised the Mavericks on their home floor to improve to 9-13 on the season.
The other European
Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Bogdan Bogdanovic are three of the best European players in the NBA. On Sunday in Dallas, it was another Euro who stole the show early.
Bjelica couldn’t miss in the first half, scoring 17 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting. And he didn’t stop there.
The Kings’ starting power forward tied his career-high of 30 points on 13-for-18 from the field and 4-of-7 from long range. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists to help propel the Kings to victory.
Buddy Hield has been all over the place this season. He’s struggled with his shot selection, missed open looks and had a few mental lapses on defense as well. That was not the player that started against the Mavs.
After a tough outing against the Spurs, Hield lit up the Mavs for 26 points on 5-for-6 from 3-point range.
Maybe more important than the shooting, Hield set up his teammates for five assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Value the ball
Despite playing at the slowest pace in the league, the Kings rank 19th in the league in turnovers at 15.7 per game. Against Dallas, they valued the ball and it made a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game.
Sacramento turned the ball over just four times through three quarters and then came undone late to all the Mavericks back in the game.
In the final 12 minutes, the Kings had a pair of 24-second shot clock violations. They made a few bad passes and they picked up two offensive fouls. In total, they turned the ball over seven times in the fourth to finish the game with 11.