Road Reaction: Dallas Mavericks 123, Sacramento Kings 100

[youtube] This game was interesting for while, but then Vince Carter happened.  The former All-Star lit the Kings up, scoring 17 of his 26 points in the third quarter while surpassing NBA legend Larry Bird on the all-time scoring list.

Coach Keith Smart went with a handful of never-before-seen lineups trying to find an answer, but the Mavs offense was just too much for his Kings, winning a laugher 123-100.

Notes and Analysis

  • Tyreke Evans was really good in this game, finishing with 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line.  The Kings didn’t go to him nearly enough after the first quarter where he scored 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting.  Evans appears to be gaining confidence.  If this were my team, I would ride Tyreke for 38-40 minutes a game down the stretch and give him a little more burn at small forward like last season.
  • Vince Carter looked like Vince Carter of old tonight, torching the Kings for 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field and 6-for-9 shooting from long range.  He was the difference in this game and congrats to him for passing Larry Legend on the all-time scoring list.
  • DeMarcus Cousins had a solid game, but again struggled with turnovers.  Cousins finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five turnovers in 29 minutes of action.  When his teammates fed him, he was pretty spectacular in the post and his rebounding was extremely impressive.  Look for Cousins to finish the season strong after the break.
  • Jason Thompson came away with a solid 17-point, nine-rebound performance in the loss.  After a horrible January, Thompson has rebounded in his last five games, averaging 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds, while shooting 61 percent from the field in 36 minutes per game.
  • After playing sparingly, if at all over the last week, James Johnson had a nice night against the Mavs.  Johnson finished with 16 points, six rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes after not playing the previous three games.
  • Marcus Thornton was a late scratch after having x-rays on his sore right hand before the game.  The x-rays were negative and he should be fine to resume play after the All-Star break.
  • Stat of Night: The Mavs dropped 13 three pointers on the Kings, including 6-for-10 in the third quarter.  Once Carter started hitting the long ball, it became contagious.

Three answers to three questions pondered

1.  Can the Kings slow down O.J. Mayo?

The Kings did a great job on Mayo, 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting.  Unfortunately, Mayo’s teammates picked-up the slack, especially from behind the arc.  Mayo went a shocking 0-for-7 from deep, but his teammates combined to hit 13-for-27, which was the difference in this game.

2.  Can the Kings outrun the Mavericks with their new found increase in pace?

The Kings looked good early on, pushing the pace and keeping the Mavs on their heels.  But once the three pointers started falling, this game was over.  A lot of blame falls directly on Keith Smart in this one.  His insistence on tinkering with the rotation is maddening for an observer.  I can’t even imagine what it must be like to play under these conditions.  In the second quarter, Smart went to a lineup of Jimmer Fredette, Francisco Garcia, James Johnson, Travis Outlaw and Chuck Hayes.  I understand trying a few new wrinkles, but 54 games into an NBA season, you should have things pretty well set.

3.  Who comes off the Kings’ bench behind Isaiah Thomas: Jimmer Fredette or Aaron Brooks?

Jimmer got the call tonight and Aaron Brooks received the dreaded DNP – Coach’s Decision.  Unfortunately, Jimmer had a horrific game, scoring just three points on 1-for-7 shooting and he failed to hand out a single assist.  Don’t take this as making an excuse for Jimmer, but Smart went to a line-up with five players without a natural position, four of whom were jump shooters.  Who is going to set a pick or get a rebound when you have three wings, an undersized power forward and Jimmer in the game?

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