Mavericks bid to locate missing offense vs. Kings

NBA

The Dallas Mavericks seek to rebound from one of their worst offensive performances in recent history when they host the Sacramento Kings in a Halloween matinee on Sunday.

Playing on the second night of a back-to-back with a trip from Dallas to Denver in between, the Mavericks were held to 75 points in a 31-point blowout loss to the Nuggets on Friday night.

Dallas hadn’t been held to 75 points or fewer for almost five seasons, dating back to a 116-74 drubbing at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers in March 2017.

Luka Doncic paced the Mavericks with 16 points at Denver, but did so on just 5-for-18 shooting. Dallas shot just 29.5 percent for the game, their lowest mark since 28.8 percent in a loss to Memphis in November 2016.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd hopes a different, no-excuses team shows up in Dallas on Sunday.

“When you have games like this, no matter how you look at it, it’s just bad,” Kidd said. “We should have been better.”

The Mavericks had Saturday off, as did the Kings, who nonetheless could have fatigue as an excuse on Sunday.

Sacramento has opened the season with five tightly contested games, winning three of them. Even the Kings’ one outcome of more than nine points — a 119-107 home loss to Golden State last Sunday — was a three-point game headed into the final four minutes.

The most dramatic of Sacramento’s contests came in the opener of its current four-game trip on Wednesday at Phoenix. Harrison Barnes’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Kings a 110-107 win.

Two nights later, De’Aaron Fox, Richaun Holmes, Buddy Hield and Barnes all hit critical late free throws as the Kings held off New Orleans, 113-109.

It’s been a different guy each night, coach Luke Walton gushed, that has been the key to his club’s 3-2 start.

“That’s what we’re trying to build toward, is knowing that we don’t have to just rely on one person,” Walton said. “We don’t have one megastar, but we have some really good players on our team and that’s how we’re going to be at our best.”

The Texas visit represents a homecoming of sorts for Kings rookie guard Davion Mitchell, who helped lead Baylor to the 2021 NCAA championship. He has averaged 8.0 points in his first five games, highlighted by a 22-point explosion in the loss to Golden State.

Sacramento swept last year’s season series 3-0 despite Fox sitting out two of the wins. He scored 30 points in a 121-107 win at Dallas that began the three-game set.

Doncic averaged 30.3 points in the three losses.

Like Fox, Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis missed the final two meetings with the Kings last season after contributing nine points and 11 rebounds to the April loss.

Porzingis has been held out of Dallas’ last two games with a sore back.

–Field Level Media

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