Game Preview: Mavericks Look to Bounce Back Against Kings

Luka Doncic

Getty Luka Doncic reacts after getting a technical foul against the Sacramento Kings.

The Dallas Mavericks are coming off of a brutal 31-point loss against the Denver Nuggets, but have the opportunity to bounce back on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings. It was a game that highlighted some deficiencies that Jason Kidd will need to look to address with the team.

“When you have games like this, no matter how you look at it, it’s just bad,” Kidd said following this loss. 

Superstar guard Luka Doncic knows he needs to be better personally if the Mavs are going to reach their ceiling this season. In this game against the Kings, he could be on a mission.

“It starts with me. I have to be better,” said Doncic postgame. 

Both Sacramento and Dallas are 3-2 this season, but have different mindsets heading into Sunday. The Mavs are coming off of a horrible loss, while the Kings have momentum with a two-game winning streak.

These Western Conference teams will face off at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at 2:30PM CT. The Mavericks are 2-0 at home this season, playing extremely well in front of their home crowd.

These two teams will play a total of four times this season, meaning they will get to know each other extremely well. Last season, the Kings won all three matchups they had by a combined 33 points.

What do the Mavericks need to do in order to bounce back on Sunday against the Kings?

Planning for the Unknown

Although they have a winning record, the Kings are still one of the more unknown teams in the entire NBA. With each passing game, they look like a different team and have a different player step up.

While this is a good problem to have for Sacramento, it raises questions about sustainability. On paper to this point, they have so many great individual contributors. 

Former Mavericks wing Harrison Barnes has been outstanding for Sacramento this season. He’s averaged 25.0 points per contest while shooting 52.8% from deep on 7.2 attempts. In terms of being sustainable, this production feels like it will be hard to keep up given his history as a player.

As expected, guard De’Aaron Fox has been special this season, averaging 19.4 points, 6.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. His one downfall has been the 3-point shooting, where he’s converted on only 6.1% of his 6.2 attempts per game.

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GettyDe’Aaron Fox looks to take another step towards stardom as he enters Year 5 with the Sacramento Kings

Sharpshooter Buddy Hield was in trade rumors all summer long, but has looked great with the Kings to this point. He’s knocked down 44.0% of his 10.0 3-point attempts per game, leading to him scoring 18.6 points per contest.

Richaun Holmes is coming off of an offseason in which he signed a new contract and is averaging 15.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while shooting 75.6% from the floor.

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With these four players being the best on the roster for the Kings this season, it will be interesting to see how their production trends throughout the season. If they’re able to sustain these numbers, Sacramento will be a likely playoff team this season.

However, when you start digging into the Kings as a team rather than the individual players on the roster, their average record starts to show.


The Kings are really a middle of the road team when you break down their numbers. They aren’t near the top of the league in many statistical categories, but also don’t have many glaring weaknesses. 

They’re in the middle third of the league in points per game (11th), rebounds per game (17th) and assists (16th). Additionally, from a shooting perspective, Sacramento is 13th in the NBA in 3-point percentage, 15th in field goal percentage and 16th in field goal attempts.

However, when putting all of these things together, they do have a top-ten offensive rating at 108.6 on the season. Their only major flaw is their defensive rating of 110.5, which is 22nd in the NBA.

Dallas has an extremely poor offensive rating (97.6) that is second worst in the league. However their defense has kept them afloat this season, with a defensive rating of 104.0, good for 11th in the NBA.

Who would have though that the Mavs would be a better defensive team this season?

Given their success on offense and struggles on defense the past few seasons, this has been an interesting development early in the 2021-22 season. 

Dallas’ struggles on offense come from being last in the NBA in both field goal percentage (39.6%) and assists per game (19.4). Additionally, they’re 27th in the league from deep, converting on only 31.% of their 3s. In the modern NBA, it’s so hard to be a good team without being much better than that from beyond the arc. 

Although they started off the season as a good rebounding team, the Mavericks have slipped to 14th in the NBA with 46.2 boards per game. 

This game could come down to the battle on the glass and which team can shoot better from deep. If the Mavs can’t figure out their offense, the struggles may continue.

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