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Kings loss to Mavs on Friday illustrates season of discontent

It’s frustrating when –

1. A player that averages 11.6 points per game scores 25 and has 12 boards.

The big scorer – Shawn Marion, a guy past his prime that rarely puts up those types of numbers anymore.

2. Your team shoots horrible from beyond the arc.

The big culprit – shooting 6-for-26 from three-point land, including Isaiah Thomas’ 0-for-7. 

Add it up and it’s not recipe for success – you probably lose that game nine times out of ten.

That’s exactly what happened on Friday evening at Sleep Train Arena when the Dallas Mavericks came to town and beat the Sacramento Kings 117-108 in a game that the home team had under control at the end of the first quarter.

“I knew we had to get a good pace in this basketball game and I thought our guys that started the game did a great job with that,” said Coach Smart from the podium in the press room after the game. “But then we had a big drop-off in the second – gave up 41 points in the second quarter.”

Boy, I’ll say!

But that’s a pattern in this Kings/Mavs rivalry this season.

On December 10, in the first meeting between the two teams this season, The Mavs outscored the Kings 29-14 in the second quarter. On January 10, it was a 33-23 besting in the final frame to tie the game eventually win it in overtime. Then, on February 13, in the second game in as many days, the Kings got blasted again in the second quarter 29-17.

Considering all those numbers, Coach Smart wasn’t surprised at all.

“We’ve had a hard time with this team all year,” said Coach Smart. “This team has done a number on us no matter how we’ve tried to play them.”

You still have to give the players some credit. Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas knew that without DeMarcus Cousins starting (coaches decision) and also realizing one of their volume scorers – Marcus Thornton, would play less than six minutes.

Cousins played nine minutes in the second but never returned to the game.

When Smart was asked about his decision, he was short and to the point in his response.

“It was my decision, a coach’s decision,” said Smart.

Cousins didn’t have an answer either.

“It was his decision,” said Cousins.

Because of Smart’s decisions, Evans and Thomas probably felt like they had to do a little more to pull this one out.

Evans, who visited his brother Doc’s house in the morning to have some green tea as he was feeling a little sick, still put up 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting and had six assists and nine boards.

“Yeah, I’ve been a little under the weather,” said Evans. “I still managed to come out and play and try to help the team win. We had them in the beginning – we wanted to get out to a fast start and we did that, but we just couldn’t hold the lead.”

Thomas understands some of the criticism on the games where his assist total is not where some think it should be but on Friday, he knew he had to be aggressive to make up for the lack of scorers used in the game.

“I felt like I should be in attack mode today just knowing and seeing that DeMarcus wasn’t playing too much and Marcus Thornton wasn’t playing too much and those are our top scoring threats besides Tyreke, so I just felt like I needed to be in attack mode and be a little more aggressive to make plays.”

The Kings closed it to 94-90 Mavericks at the 10:23 mark of the final quarter but then gave up nine straight to put the game out of reach.

Frustrating? Yes.

But what has to get worked out prior to next season?

Either making sure everyone’s happy with the rotation and their role on the team or find players that will accept their position and work as one unit on the floor.

Evans was asked about the rotations and gave an honest answer.

“It’s a little frustrating, everybody’s frustrated,” said Evans. “For us, we have to be professional . . . When he (Smart) doesn’t make the right setup tonight, you can’t get mad. Whoever’s out there – you just gotta work.”

Evans is right.

Whatever the root of this season’s discontent, playing together and having each other’s backs is truely the answer.

KINGS NOTES: Jason Thompson had another solid game with 16 points and 16 rebounds . . . Toney Douglas added 14 off the bench . . . James Johnson saw his first action since missing almost a month for the birth of his son

PHOTOS COURTESY OF:

GEORGE YOUNG

Shawn Marion killed the Kings – it didn’t matter if top defender John Salmons was guarding him or anyone else
J.T. was unstoppable again putting another double-double with 16 points and 16 boards
Every game since the Maloof’s put the “For Sale” sign in the window, the loyalists have been bringing out the banners
Evans drives to the rack . . .
. . . only to be fouled on the arm by Jae Crowder
Patrick Patterson started in place of DeMarcus Cousins and scored 10 points and had seven rebounds
Evans gets past Marion for an easy bucket
Slamson’s got to be happy – they did a video tribute to the ole lion at halftime
Thomas shoots over the imposing Vince Carter
Jason Thompson played well in defeat once again
Dirk Nowitzki was held in check – only hitting one three and scored only 16 points
 

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