The getaway, that got away.
Playing the final game before the NBA All-Star break, the Kings got off to a rough shooting start and then looked like a team ready for a week off.
The Dallas Mavericks, led by All-Star Luka Doncic and big man Kristaps Porzingis, ran over the Kings to come away with the 130-111 victory.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings dropped their second straight game to fall to 21-33 on the season.
Shorthanded in the post and searching for answers, coach Luke Walton opened the game with De’Aaron Fox, Cory Joseph, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica as his starting five. The plan backfired.
Sacramento got wide-open looks but couldn’t convert as they fell behind early. When Bjelica picked up a second early foul, Walton went even smaller, turning to two-way player DaQuan Jeffries.
The Kings are going to be without Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes for the foreseeable future. Walton will need to get creative, but he can tear that starting group page out of the playbook.
Walton’s second unit responded to cut the Mavs lead to 32-28 going to the second quarter, but the Kings can’t afford to dig double-digit first-quarter deficits on the road.
The conversation regarding the Kings’ recent uptick in wins has focused on the backcourt change with Bogdan Bogdanovic moving into the starting group with Buddy hield shifting to the bench. The hot streak also coincides with the arrival of veteran Kent Bazemore.
Bazemore brings and energy and length at the wing that the Kings didn’t have before he arrived in the trade for Trevor Ariza. He spent time defending Doncic and was aggressive going to the rim.
The defensive specialist finished the game with 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting and chipped in seven rebounds. It wasn’t the outcome the Kings were looking for, but they are now 6-4 since Bazemore’s arrival.
It’s not often that De’Aaron Fox has a major off night, but he, along with Bjelica and Bogdanovic couldn’t buy a basket and it cost the Kings any chance of competing.
The trio combined to score just eight points on 3-for-16 from the field in the first half. Bjelica and Fox played better in the second half, but both posted numbers well below their season averages.
Bogdanovic finished 2-of-11 from the field for six points. It’s not often you see a scoring line like that from the Kings’ starting shooting guard.