O.J Mayo had drawn the ire of some of our writers here at Mavs Moneyball, as he'd shot 2-12 in his first two preseason games and had failed to make a single two-point basket. The gash on his hand he acquired after falling down some stairs may have explained some of this cold shooting, but sufficed to say we expected more from O.J Then, yesterday, against his first real NBA competition of the season, Mayo bounced back, scoring 20 points and playing a pivotal role in a 24-2 3rd quarter run that broke the game open for Dallas.
Now, 20 points in just 24 minutes is impressive enough, but I went back to look at how O.J Mayo got his points, and found even greater encouragement. Here was the play-by-play:
11:38 - O.J Mayo draws foul on transition drive to basket (in fairness to Patrick Patterson, this looked close to a charge)
8:10 - O.J Mayo makes fast break dunk off turnover, assisted by Darren Collison
7:54 - O.J Mayo misses transition three, relatively open with three Houston defenders back
5:56 - O.J Mayo makes three, assisted by Collison as Mayo's man left him to help cover Collison P&R with Kaman
4:40 - O.J Mayo misses corner three, 19 seconds on shot clock, mismatch with Royce White
4:33 - O.J Mayo subs out
6:56 - O.J Mayo enters
6:11 - O.J Mayo misses scoop layup in transition, Wright gets putback
5:26 - O.J Mayo makes fast break layup off turnover, assisted by Collison(hockey assist to Wright)
4:42 - O.J Mayo drives foul after nice backdoor cut to basket, may have been designed play out of timeout
10:41 - O.J Mayo makes tough layup on great cut and feed from Kaman who screened defender
10:07 - O.J Mayo makes transition three after drifting to corner on fast break
9:38 - O.J Mayo makes three, assist from Collison off dribble penetration and kick out
9:07- O.J Mayo misses heat check three, 18 seconds on shot clock
6:54 - O.J Mayo hits long 2, on nice stepback move but still tough shot
4:35 - O.J Mayo misses running 13-footer, had defender on his hip and seemed to be trying to draw foul
2:54 - O.J Mayo subs out
Mayo would not enter the game again, finishing with 20 points on 7-12 shooting, including 3-6 from three and 3-4 from the line. By my count, his shots went like this:
4 shots at rim (and 2 fouls drawn in the paint)
2 midrange jumpers
There were a pair of "heat check" threes that seemed a little forced, as they were somewhat well defended, but I'd much prefer those shots be threes than fadeaway long 2's. The "Kobe-ball" mentality has long been a hindrance for Mayo, and this game seems like a major step forward in moving away from that, as almost all his shots(83%, to be exact) came either at the rim or from behind the line, the two highest value shots in the game. Compare that to his shot chart from years past, when those shots accounted for just 59% of his attempts.
Obviously, we can't make too much of just one game, but it was very encouraging to see. I intend to keep a mental tally of how many ball-stopping long 2's(or "Caron Butlers", if you prefer) Mayo takes as a Mav. The redistribution of that shot to other, higher-value looks could go along way in making Mayo not just a scorer but an efficient scorer.