A lot can change during an NBA season. Through 82 games, the ups and downs can seem like a rollercoaster. But when a team or player finds a groove, that’s the sweet spot.
Dorian Finney-Smith finds himself in such a spot. He’s been playing some of the best basketball of his career over the past month. Despite his rocky start to the season, Finney-Smith knew that his shot would eventually come around.
“Just me knowing how much work I put in,” Finney-Smith said. “I know I can shoot. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, but my mechanics was good. I just had to get my legs up under me and shoot with confidence.”
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday night, Finney-Smith scored 17 points on 6-11 shooting (54.5 percent) overall and knocked down four of his seven three-point attempts (57.1 percent) in the Dallas Mavericks’ 104-102 win. He also recorded 10 rebounds.
It was the eleventh time in his six-year career that he recorded a double-double. The Mavericks have a 9-2 record in games that Finney-Smith has a double-double.
His outburst against the Thunder is just the latest in a stretch of quality performances. In his past 17 games, dating back to December 13, 2021, Finney-Smith is averaging 12.6 points while shooting 47 percent overall and 38.5 percent from deep. He’s also chipping in five rebounds and 2.2 assists.
During this stretch, he scored in double figures in all but two games. At one point, he tallied double digits in 13 straight contests. It’s a stark contrast to the way he began the season.
Through his first 11 games, his shot wasn’t falling. He averaged 7.5 points and was making just 34.1 percent of his shots. Worse, only 25.9 percent of his three-point attempts found nylon. After improving his averages in each of his first five seasons, it looked like the clock may have struck midnight on his Cinderella story.
That wasn’t the case. Finney-Smith began to turn things around soon thereafter. Over his next 15 games, he averaged 10.2 points on 50.4 percent from the floor and 45.7 percent from behind the arc.
Now, he’s riding one of the best streaks of his career. The Mavericks are 12-5 over his last 17 games. There may be an ebb and flow to an NBA season, but Finney-Smith is currently riding a wave.
“Shooting the ball is mostly mental,” Finney-Smith said. “You got to think it’s going in before you shoot it.”