Two days after losing on a last-second shot to the Sacramento Kings, the Dallas Mavericks returned the favor in dominating fashion. In the second of back-to-back games in Sacramento, the Mavericks were able to end 2021 with a victory defeating the Kings 112-96.
Dallas (17-18) propelled itself to a New Year’s Eve victory with an explosive 24-2 run spanning six minutes in the third quarter. The run consisted of eight made shots by the Mavericks that all came from assists, while Sacramento (15-22) missed ten consecutive shots. Dallas had 94 points at the end of the third quarter, the total amount they scored in Wednesday’s loss.
Kristaps Porzingis led both teams with 24 points while also grabbing nine rebounds and six assists. Jalen Brunson was the second-highest scorer in the game with 23 points while also adding eight assists and five rebounds.
“We’re excited we came out with a win against a team like this, especially how we lost the first time,” Brunson said postgame. “But nothing really changes. You’ve got to just be happy, short-term memory, move on to the next one.”
The win gives the Mavericks a positive end to one of the most unstable months in recent franchise history. Ten different players missed time due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols; guard Isaiah Thomas was the newest addition to that list. Thomas signed a 10-day contract with the team just hours before the Wednesday game against the Kings, then tested positive for COVID-19 the next day.
Thomas joined Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Brandon Knight, and Ja’Quori McLaughlin, currently on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Doncic missed 11 of the 16 games in December. He was first forced to miss time after reaggravating an ankle injury on December 10 in Indiana. Doncic was nearing a return from the injury when he tested positive for COVID-19 on December 22.
The Mavericks posted a 7-9 record in December while having an NBA-high 24 players appear on the court for the team.
Dallas did get Reggie Bullock back for the first time since the team added him to the COVID-19 list on December 18. Bullock played well, matching his season-high with 16 points.
The game started poorly for the Mavericks as they fell behind by as many as ten points in the first quarter. Dallas responded by outscoring Sacramento 60-37 over the next two quarters to take command of the game.
Dallas has won eight games after trailing by ten or more points this season. In the entirety of last season, the team won only seven games in such instances.
The Mavericks defense also excelled by holding the Kings leading scorer De’Aaron Fox without a point for the final three quarters. Fox managed to score ten points all in the first quarter.
On Sunday, Dallas will go on the road for the fifth straight time in their next game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.