Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Goals without Doncic: a problem for the Dallas Mavericks

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The Dallas Mavericks currently have a three-game losing streak which is their longest season. This brings them to an overall record of 9-7, while slowly sliding down in the Western Conference standings.

Dallas is particularly grappling with the fact that they did without their superstar security guard Luka Doncic, who is recovering from two separate injuries to his left leg. In addition, there were these three losses to some of the top teams in the NBA. This includes consecutive losses for the Phoenix Suns and one loss for the LA Clippers.

What is still an issue for the Mavs is the ability to earn points. In those three games they only scored 97.7 points per game and have an offensive rating of 106.3. Dallas just doesn’t make enough good looks.

There were a few players who rose offensively without Doncic, but the rest of the team lacked the power to win games without their star.

During those three games, Kristaps Porzingis did really well. As the best player on the team without Doncic, the 7-foot player has improved and looks as good as he has all season.

In the three games, Porzingis averaged 23.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He’s shot badly from the outside of the bow, but he’s found ways to get buckets when the Mavs need them most. Porzingis was also a defensive force, producing five blocks and three steals in the last three competitions.

After an outstanding performance against the Clippers, the Porzingis teammates gave him the recognition he deserved. Although the team lost, he did everything in his power to help Dallas.

“He [Porzingis] was a force. He was able to hit the sweet spots, looked really good. I mean, he was great, ”said Jalen Brunson after Sunday’s match against the Clippers. “I just wish that we and I as a team could have helped him a little more to win this game.”

Brunson was great too, proving to be the second best scorer on this track without Doncic. He averaged 18.7 points while generating 9.0 assists per game. When it comes to a banker filling in for a player like Doncic, the Mavericks couldn’t ask much more of Brunson.

Overall, it was the squad outside of Porzingis and Brunson that did not strengthen offensively.

Tim Hardaway Jr. is usually the third best scorer in a completely healthy Mavs squad, but has to struggle tremendously with the additional defensive pressure that he fails with Doncic.

In those last three games, Hardaway Jr. averaged just 16.0 points at 18.7 shots per game. This is extremely inefficient as it takes a lot of shots to get points. Hardaway Jr. only shot 32.1% off the ground in this final stretch.

From there, guys like Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Reggie Bullock were expected to help offensively for the understaffed Mavs.

Although Finney-Smith has started to find his groove as a Sagittarius lately, the score is still not where it should be. He averaged just 9.3 points per game in three games despite having every opportunity to move up as a goalscorer.

Powell continues to struggle with starting position in the middle, scoring 4.7 points per game. Although he’s never been a volume scorer, the undersized big one hasn’t gotten more aggressive with Doncic.

After all, Reggie Bullock has extremely high expectations offensively, regardless of whether Doncic plays or not. In his absence, he only got 2.7 points per game while shooting 25.0% off the ground. If Bullock had shot even the league average over this distance, the Mavs might have won a victory. He was certainly the most disappointing player of the last week.

At the end of the day, the Mavericks desperately need Doncic back. However, the guys need to step up if they are not going to slide down any further while he recovers.

After all, Reggie Bullock has extremely high expectations offensively, regardless of whether Doncic plays or not. In his absence, he only got 2.7 points per game while shooting 25.0% off the ground. If Bullock had shot even the league average over this distance, the Mavs might have won a victory. He was certainly the most disappointing player of the last week.

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