The Mavericks fell at the hands of the Clippers Thursday night, keeping pace for most of the game, then getting crushed late. Here are three figures which help tell the story of the game.
53: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George’s combined point total
In my preview for this game, I mentioned how important it would be to see if the Mavericks could survive on the wing. Understandably, they didn’t. The Clippers have two of the best wings in the game while the Mavericks lack elite defenders there. If anything, this game just added a little more salt to the wound. They also scored a combined 54 points in November, the only other time this season they both played together versus Dallas. In a seven game series, it’s gonna be hard to slow down this duo.
+22: The Clippers advantage in points in the paint
With Seth Curry sidelines due to injury, the Dallas Mavericks decided to roll out a bigger lineup. They started Boban Marjanovic, which I’m sure delighted many fans who had been calling for a bigger role from him. Early into the game, it was clear the Clippers were going to attack him on a pick-and-roll every possession. So just five minutes in, Marjanovic went to the bench and wouldn’t return.
This led to Ivica Zubac to have a Thanksgiving feast in the paint. Zubac made all ten of his field goal attempts, finishing the game with 21 points and 15 rebounds. He was the pioneer behind the Clippers being able to score 58 points in the paint tonight.
-28.9: Luka Doncic’s NET rating
That’s not exactly the kind of number you want to see from your best player. He posted an offensive rating of 104.4, a number that’s a little deceiving. Doncic didn’t have a horrible game offensive, scoring 29 points. He also had his best three point shooting night of the bubble so far, shooting 6-for-13 from deep. But an focusing on the perimeter clearly slowed down the part of his game that emphasizes attacking the basket.
Doncic had just eight of his points in the paint, which resulted in him getting to the line less often. Despite not being a great free throw shooter, it’s still a large part of generating his offense. His free throw attempt rate this game was 0.186. That’s a stark contrast from his average of 0.452 from the previous two games. He also only had six assists while turning the ball over four times. Less drives mean less kick outs mean less overall offense for the Mavericks. If this is the playoff series for Dallas, their game plan should revolve largely on ways to sneak Doncic into the paint.
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.