Rajon Rondo proved to be everything the Mavs had hoped he would be when they traded for him in late-December last season—only problem was this time he was playing for the other team.
An all-around stellar by Rondo helped lead the Sacrament Kings (25-35) to a 104-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks (33-29) on Thursday night at the American Airlines Center. He finished the game with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 12 assists against his former team.
“He played well,” Chandler Parsons said of Rondo after the game. “He had a good night and he’s a big game player and you got to figure he’s ready for this kind of environment. We just allowed him to get to the basket and get some easy ones.”
In his first live action in Dallas since his departure to Sacrament, Rondo had already recorded eight points and seven rebounds by halftime to help the Kings to a 50-45 edge going into the break.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins continued his dominance against the Mavs of late. After averaging 30 points and 13 rebounds in his previous four meetings against Dallas, he finished the game with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while limiting Zaza Pachulia to just 6 points and 6 rebounds and a minus-20 efficiency rating.
After falling behind as much as 10 points late in the third quarter, an 8-0 run brought the Mavs to within two points. The Kings then used a 9-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter to build their lead back up to 11 points with Parsons resting on the Mavs bench. Then with 9:11 left in the quarter, Parsons finally checked back in. But it didn’t matter as the Kings continued to build on their lead, going up by 14 points after a Marco Belinelli three with 5:03 left in the game. Belinelli finished the game with 16 points.
Despite winning a key battle on the boards (47-43) against the sixth best rebounding team in the NBA, the Mavs couldn’t find the answers to close the gap with the Kings. Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Sacramento continued to show more effort and energy on both ends of the floor.
Parsons led the Mavs with 28 points to go along with 9 rebounds, but Dirk Nowitzki struggled all night. He finished with almost as many turnovers (5) as field goals (7), and a quiet 16 points.
David Lee continued show he’s a valuable addition for the Mavs after finishing the game with his second double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in just his fifth appearance for his new team, but it wasn’t enough as Rondo and Kings walked away with the victory to end their four-game losing streak, and their first win in Dallas in 22 games.
“It’s disappointing, but we didn’t deserve it,” Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. “We didn’t play well enough.”
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