Let’s set the scene. You’ve had a long day at the office. You finally get home. You’re starving. You microwave some leftover pizza from the night before. It’s obviously scolding hot. You take a bite. You burn your mouth. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get yourself to stop eating the pizza. The roof of your mouth is numb from the pain, but you’re so hungry you keep trying to eat it. That’s what watching the Mavericks tonight felt like.
It was ugly from the start. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t going to get better. It was obvious tonight. Just like the pizza was obviously too hot to eat. But I was hungry for a Mavs playoff win. Too hungry. So I kept watching, and I even got excited and talked myself into a second-half comeback. I kept eating the pizza. And now, I’m heartbroken. The metaphorical roof of my mouth is numb from pain.
Here are three numbers to know from the blowout loss.
81: Points the Mavs scored
There wasn’t really a point where the game felt close. The Mavs lost the first quarter by nine points and then lost every other quarter by seven points, six points, and three points, respectively. If your calculators aren’t working, I’ll do the math for you. The Mavs lost by 25 points. Final score: 106-81.
That’s how many points this Mavs team could muster in their biggest game of the season? I mean... That’s just horrifying. That won’t beat any team in a playoff game, let alone a team as talented as the Clippers.
0: Luka’s shooting percentage from the free-throw line
In the first three games of this series, Luka was a putrid 13-of-27 shooting from the free-throw line. It felt like it couldn’t get much worse in Game 4, but I was wrong. So, so wrong.
Tonight, Luka was 0-for-5 from the charity stripe. Only two of those attempts came in the second half. It looked like his struggles from the line were getting in his head, keeping him from attacking the rim and drawing fouls. It’s also possible that he was in too much physical pain to seek out contact near the basket, but I have to think if he was 5-for-5 from the line instead of 0-for-5, he would’ve sought out some more contact, even though he was in pain.
The free throw shooting is becoming a serious concern for Luka. He has too much skill and too soft of a touch to be this poor of a free-throw shooter. It’s starting to look mental, and that’s never a good thing.
5: 3-pointers made by the Mavericks
Luka made five threes in Game 1, five threes in Game 2, and seven threes in Game 3. In Game 4, the Mavericks made five as a team (five!). Here’s what the breakdown looked like from deep:
- Dorian Finney-Smith: 2-for-5
- Maxi Kleber: 0-for-3
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: 0-for-4
- Kristaps Porzingis: 0-for-2
- Luka Doncic: 1-for-7
- Nicolo Melli: 0-for-1
- Trey Burke: 0-for-2
- Jalen Brunson: 1-for-4
- Josh Richardson: 1-for-2
In a league that’s all about shooting, you just simply have to shoot better than the Mavericks did tonight if you even want to be semi-competitive in a playoff game.
Here’s to hoping the Mavericks can’t possibly shoot it worse in Game 5!
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.