The saying goes, “Live by the three, or die by the three.” For the Dallas Mavericks, it was the latter in a third disappointing loss to the Sacramento Kings.

The Mavericks muddled their way to a 111-99 loss on the second night of a back-to-back, which saw the team beat the Washington Wizards on Saturday. Behind the result, was a horrific three-point performance and a lack of consistency within the team’s defensive efforts.

“We go 17 percent from three, they go almost 40,” Rick Carlisle said after the game. “You know, difficult game. Difficult back-to-back. We got a little bit unlucky there, but we are going to have to flush this one and get ready for Tuesday.”

Dallas only made a staggering six 3-point shots on 35 tries. And it wasn’t due to a lack of good looks.

“We were getting pretty decent shots all night, but we were just struggling defensively,” Carlisle said. “[Marvin] Bagley had a huge game, and that really hurt us.”

Luka Doncic led the way in scoring for Dallas with 30 points, but he only made one three-pointer in seven tries.

Buddy Hield and Marvin Begley III did most of the damage for Sacramento. The guard and forward combo combined for 50 points, which made for tough sledding as Dallas played from behind most of the game.

In the end, Sacramento may have a losing record, but against the Mavericks they are 3-0. And the staggering thing is, there is no rhyme or reason behind the Mavericks’ struggles against the Kings.

Both Doncic and Jalen Brunson, when asked, couldn’t pinpoint the specific reason the Kings have the Mavs’ number on the year. But if someone looks at Sunday night’s game tape, it’s clear, poor shooting and inconsistent defense doomed Dallas from the start.

Technical issues:

Both Carlisle and Doncic were ejected from Sunday’s game due to technical fouls. Both view the calls as suspect, but Carlisle bears the brunt of responsibility for not setting a good example.

“I set a poor example tonight by getting two myself,” Carlisle said. “I apologized to the team after the game for it. It’s not the right example. I’ve got four technicals this year and they are all from the same guy. I am not sure exactly what that says, but there is a saying that reasonable men have a right to disagree. So I’ll stick with that.”

Doncic’s two technicals leave him with 15 on the year. That number is one away from an automatic one-game suspension. He, after the game, vehemently stated that he didn’t know exactly why he got both technical.

The good news is, Doncic promised that he won’t get another technical on the year, but he also believes both technicals should be rescinded.

“When it was time out, I threw the ball to the basket. I guess it was for that. But if you get a tech for that, then I don’t know,” Doncic said regarding the second technical. “The first one should be rescinded too. ”

To have Doncic suspended for a game this late in the season can be detrimental in a Western Conference that is so tightly contested between seeds five and 10. Every game matters and Dallas needs its star in order to compete at a high level.

Looking ahead:

A third loss to the Kings is something Dallas simply wants to wipe its hands of. And it has to do so relatively quickly as the Mavs gear up to play the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Sacramento has Dallas’ number. The good news is the Kings won’t be in the playoffs, meanwhile, the Mavericks will. At the very least, that is something to celebrate.

“Soon as we leave the building, we won’t think about it anymore,” Brunson said. “You got to keep moving forward. And we are preparing for Miami.”

Feature image via Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports.

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