Dorian Finney-Smith has found his groove at Disney World. Everything seems to be going right for him. That much was apparent Saturday night as the Dallas Mavericks took on the Milwaukee Bucks inside the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida.
Tasked with guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo for various stretches of the game, one would be hard pressed to judge Finney-Smith for taking the night off offensively to put all his energy toward his defensive effort. He didn’t though. In fact, he played his best offensive game of his career—and turned in a great all-around performance—further solidifying him as perhaps the team’s most reliable player not named Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis.
Finney-Smith scored a career-high 27 points against the Buck. He found buckets all over the floor. He scored on cuts and drives to the rim when the defense lost him and he hoisted the three-ball at a record rate. He took 12 three-point attempts, the most he’s ever taken in a game, and connected on six of them—also a career high. Finney-Smith also made a free throw toward the end of overtime to essentially seal the Mavs’ 136-132 victory.
“Coach asked us to be relentless for the whole game and I think we did a great job of that,” Finney-Smith said after the game.
This is the third time in Doe-Doe’s career that he’s scored 20 or more points. All of them have come this season. Finney-Smith also pulled down 11 rebounds and dished five assists against Milwaukee. The Mavericks are 3-0 when he scores at least 20 points and are 5-0 when he records a double-double.
This is what Dallas has come to expect from Finney-Smith inside the bubble. In the five games the Mavs have played in Orlando, he’s averaging 13.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and three assists. He’s also shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from deep—the second highest mark on the team.
His bubble numbers are significantly higher than they were before the NBA suspended its season on March 11. Before the break, he averaged 9.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. His shooting percentages have remained relatively similar. However, Finney-Smith is taking four more shots per game, including two more three-point tries. He’s even getting to the free throw line more.
He has put in the work over the years and the organization has never doubted his potential to become the player he is now. It wasn’t always pretty, but the results are reaping dividends now. Not only that, he’s become one of the team’s most vocal leaders from the bench and in the locker room.
Finney-Smith’s performance Saturday would have been the talk of the team and fans had it not been overshadowed by Doncic’s brilliant performance. That’s probably just fine with him, though. He doesn’t crave the spotlight.
Instead, Finney-Smith goes about his business, doing what’s asked of him. He’s the Mavericks’ go-to defensive stopper and one of the team’s most dangerous outside threats. His hard-nosed play at both ends is something opponents are learning to respect.
“He’s kind of earned the reputation,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said recently. “He’s doing the dirty work and he’s a guy that’s encouraging his teammates all the time.”