|Kings look to rebound vs. Mavs after historic collapse|
The sooner the Sacramento Kings can get back on the court, the sooner they can forget about their historic meltdown on Tuesday.
They'll get a chance to do that against a team that is plummeting down the Western Conference standings even faster than Sacramento.
Two days after the Kings blew a 25-point, fourth-quarter lead in a loss to the Brooklyn Nets, they welcome the Dallas Mavericks to Northern California on Thursday.
Sacramento led by 20 points with less than nine minutes left against the Nets but couldn't stop D'Angelo Russell, who scored 27 points in the fourth period. Final score: Nets 123, Kings 121.
Teams leading by 25 or more entering the fourth quarter were 3,028-3 all-time in the NBA, the Sacramento Bee reported. Add the Kings as the fourth team to waste a 25-point lead.
"We blew it," said Kings rookie Marvin Bagley Jr., who scored 28 points. "I hate losing, especially like that."
Sacramento coach Dave Joerger can only hope his young team learned a valuable lesson.
"It was a good experience for us," Joerger told the media. "I don't like to have to take a loss to learn that, but I've got to think we'll be better for having gone through this. You're going to have opportunities to put teams away. You've got to do that."
The defeat was Sacramento's 10th in its past 14 games.
But the Mavs are on an even longer slide.
After a 126-118 road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, Dallas is 2-14 in its past 16 games.
Not even Dirk Nowitzki passing Wilt Chamberlain for sixth in career scoring on Monday night can overshadow the Mavericks' slide down the Western Conference standings, all the way to 14th out of 15 in the conference.
But falling out of the playoff picture also affords the Mavericks a chance to play some younger players and get a head start on evaluating for next season. One such example came Wednesday night against Portland, when Kostas Antetokounmpo made his NBA debut.
The younger brother of Milwaukee star and MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo scored one point in six minutes against Portland.
"It's a great feeling, man," Antetokounmpo told the Dallas Morning News after hitting 1 of 2 free throws late in the game. "It's a dream come true, and I was excited I was able to score a point."
The Kings defeated the Mavericks 120-113 in Dallas on Dec. 16, the first of the teams' three meetings this season.
Buddy Hield and De'Aaron Fox each scored 28 points as the Kings snapped the Mavericks' 11-game home winning streak. That matchup also gave the Kings a chance to rebound from another tough loss -- in their previous game, Sacramento blew a 10-point in the final 3 1/2 minutes and lost to Golden State.
Dallas rookie Luka Doncic scored 28 and recorded nine assists in the loss to Sacramento.
Throughout the all the losing, Doncic continues to be a bright spot for Dallas.
Against Portland, he went for 24 points, five boards and six assists. And Monday in an overtime loss to the Pelicans, Doncic recorded the fifth-triple double of his young career, putting up 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
For the season, Doncic is averaging 21.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists.
--Field Level Media