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Here’s how Kristaps Porzingis exploded against the San Antonio Spurs

Porzingis had one of his best nights by taking only the best shots.

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Kristaps Porzingis exploded for 32 points in the Dallas Mavericks’ win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. He did this on ruthlessly efficient 54.5% shooting from the field, despite taking 22 shots, seven more than his season average. How did Porzingis score more points, more efficiently, while increasing his volume?

Simply put, he took the shots he’s best at. Here’s his shot chart for the entire season.

Porzingis is shooting 42% from the field this season, but heading into the game against the Spurs, he was only shooting 34%. How did he raise his field goal percentage eight points in one game? By only taking efficient shots. Look at his shot chart against the Spurs:

The midrange jumpers are almost nonexistent, which is good, because he’s only shot them at a 37% clip this season. There are only a handful of shots in the paint—non-restricted area, where Porzingis has shot 27% this year.

Instead, those shots were replaced with attempts at the rim and from deep. Porzingis is shooting 76% in the restricted area this season. He hasn’t caught fire from behind the arc this year, only hitting 30% of his 3-pointers. But those are shots he needs to take. With increased volume, there’s no reason to think that Porzingis, a career 36% 3-point shooter, won’t bring his percentages up from deep. This was only the third game that Porzingis has shot at least eight 3-pointers. The Mavericks have won them all, by a combined score of 38 points.

Sometimes the simplest things are the truest. Porzingis needs to eliminate the midrange shots that everyone knows are bad, and concentrate on his most efficient shots—at the rim and from behind the arc. It makes him a better basketball player and the Mavericks’ offense run more efficiently. Hopefully this game against the Spurs is a turning point on his shot selection going forward.

Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.