How it happened: A short-handed team is always a dangerous team. The Mavericks discovered this fact the hard way as they fell behind by double digits within the first six minutes of the game. Leading the league with 17.8 points off the bench, Isaiah Thomas made his first start of the year for Sacramento. He gave Dallas fits early with his speed as he scored 10 points in the opening quarter. Thomas opened things up for this teammates as the Kings went on a 21-4 run en route to taking a 34-23 lead into the second quarter.
Dallas responded to Sacramento’s run with an 18-4 spurt of its own to start the second quarter. In another "be ready" game, Bernard James responded with tough defense, rebounds and baskets. His energy triggered the comeback effort by the Mavericks in the second quarter. Off a 3-point bucket by Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas took a quick 41-38 lead. The game of runs continued as the Kings, led by DeMarcus Cousins, countered with an 14-2 run of their own to extend their lead back to 10. Cousins ended up recording a double-double in the first half with 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Kings took a 57-47 lead into halftime. They ended up never looking back.
A general malaise seemed to grip the Mavericks as they didn’t put up much of a fight to start the second half. Dallas wasn’t fighting through screens and the Mavs were settling for jumpers rather than trying to get into the lane. They tried to slow down the Kings with a zone defense, but the adjustment didn’t have much of an impact. Derrick Williams was the next Kings player who got going, scoring 13 points in the third quarter on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. He finished the game with a career-high 31 points.
The Kings' third-quarter surge -- when they lengthened a five-point edge to 19 by period's end -- essentially took the Mavericks out of the game. Dallas suffered an embarrassing loss to a team that only had five wins coming into the game. Sacramento had three players with at least 20 points. Monta Ellis was the only player for Dallas to score at least 20 points.
What it means: The good mojo the Mavericks had coming off their win against the Trail Blazers quickly evaporates with a bad loss to the Kings. Dallas will look to go 3-1 on its road trip Wednesday against Golden State.
Play of the game: The stat sheet doesn’t show a blocked shot, but with just under a minute to go in the first half, Thomas elevated and altered James’ dunk attempt. It wasn’t credited as a block for Thomas, so James gets the ever-so-rare air-balled dunk.
Stat of the night: Dallas had a 43-40 lead at the 6:31 mark of the second quarter. The Mavs were outscored 52-30 from that point on to the end of the third quarter.