The road woes are here to stay
Am I rushing to judgment here? Maybe.
Can you blame me though? The Mavericks are 2-16 in their road games this year. It’s inexplicably bad for a team that also has one of the leagues best records when playing at home. It’s baffling.
They seemed to be getting better over their last few games, but then they got to Oklahoma City and really didn’t even get off the bus. This was a team that they beat last night, and the only thing that changed was the venue, but apparently that’s enough to account for them losing by 20 instead of winning by 2.
Generally, if I have a grievance or there is an issue with the team, I try to think critically and come up with a solution. But I really have nothing on this. They have been playing harder, they’re trying different lineups, and trusting Luka more, but it’s still not resulting in wins, which leads me to believe that this issue might be more than the staff/players on hand can correct.
Things aren’t getting any easier schedule wise, so they will have ample opportunity to prove me wrong.
The turnover issues are back
There for a few games, it seemed the Mavericks had their early season turnover issues under control.
The last two contests however, those same issues have reared their ugly head, with the Mavs coughing it up 54 times total, with 29 coming tonight. Now, these two games just could be a one off. OKC is the best team in the NBA when it comes to forcing turnovers, and it’s understandable when you check their roster.
They’re big, long, athletic, and very aggressive on that end. Especially when they’re back at home playing a team who just beat them the night before. The edge that they played with really caught the Mavs off guard and they feasted on both ends, forcing the turnovers and then converting off of them.
The Mavs will be at Charlotte next, a much less disruptive team. We will see then if this trend continues.
Harrison Barnes’ shooting is a great development
Through his first 2 years here, Harrison didn’t shoot the three all that well or all that much. He was under 36% in both seasons prior to this one.
With the evolving roster, namely the infusion of a spectacular 19-year-old point forward, he was obviously going to be asked to do less creating and more converting, which is exactly what he’s doing.
After tonight’s 7-9 performance from deep, Barnes is up to 43% on just over 6 three point attempts per game. That’s the kind of volume and efficiency the Mavericks were looking for, and really what they need from him to help maximize their two young ball handlers. And it feels sustainable. He’s got a quick, repeatable motion that lends itself to consistency.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s being fed accurate, timely passes right into his shooting pocket with regularity.
We know Luka is the face of this franchise, and Barnes’ play this year, on both ends, really makes it seem as if he’s a nice fit next to him. Will his shooting and defense continue at this level? That will likely be what determines his staying power.
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