That loud thud you heard Sunday afternoon was the Sacramento Kings falling flat on their face at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. After a big road win Friday night in Memphis, the Kings couldn’t find the bottom of the net against a Mavericks team with the worst record in the Western Conference. The end result was a 99-79 win for the home team.
Sacramento has been a notoriously slow starter this season and it’s come back to haunt them on countless occasions. Sunday was no different.
“We let them hit us first,” DeMarcus Cousins told reporters following the game.
It’s a broken record. The Kings trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter and settled for a 28-21 deficit heading into the second. The Mavs continued to push the lead heading into the half, outscoring Sacramento 27-23 in the second quarter to take an 11-point lead into the intermission.
"We've got to come out and be the aggressors, that's just plain and simple," DeMarcus Cousins told reporters following the game. "We can't get off to slow starts. We can't let a team gain confidence early. We've got to be the aggressors every night."
The Kings usually come out of the half with a new game plan, but the same lackluster team appeared from the locker room following the break.
Sacramento scored just 14 points in the third on 6-of-19 shooting. Dallas wasn’t much better, scoring 21 in the quarter on 6-of-22 shooting, but they hit all six of their free throws to push their lead to 18 heading into the fourth.
“Good game for Dallas, they were the aggressors, they had us on our heals most of the day,” Dave Joerger told reporters. “It was never really much of a game. We made a couple of runs late, but we missed a lot a shots.”
Cousins was one of the few Kings players to show up on the offensive end, scoring 33 of his team’s 79 points. The All-Star center dropped in 12-of-24 shots, but the remaining 10 players struggled from the field, knocking down just 18-for-52 attempts (34.6 percent). Ty Lawson was the only other Kings player to score in double-figures and he finished with 10.
The starting backcourt of Darren Collison and Garrett Temple combined to score seven points on 2-for-18 shooting from the field and 1-of-11 from long range.
Ball movement stopped. Sacramento took ill-advised quick shots and they missed way more than they hit.
“We got beat by 20, not a lot of X’s and O’s in it,” a disappointed Joerger said.
Following the loss, the Kings boarded a plane for Sacramento where they will take on the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday evening. They hit the road again the next night, flying to Utah for their second home-and-road back-to-back against the Jazz this month.
Afflalo odd man out
Despite the absence of Rudy Gay (hip flexor) and Omri Casspi (illness), shooting guard Arron Afflalo drew another DNP-CD against the Mavs, his third in six games. Since losing his starting job on Dec. 7, the 10-year NBA veteran has played just 24 minutes for Joerger.
Before his exile, Afflalo was off to a slow start on the season. In 23 appearances this season, the free agent acquisition is averaging 7.3 points on 40.5 percent shooting from the field.
Afflalo, 31, is under contract at $12.5 million this season and the Kings hold a team-option for another $12.5 million next season with a $1.5 million buyout.