Get KP involved early & often
Kristaps Porzingis played arguably his best game of the season Sunday against San Antonio before fouling out. Scoring 31 points & collecting 15 rebounds should certainly boost his confidence.
If his response to Sunday’s opening quarter is any indication, he needs to see the ball a lot early. It definitely seemed like the catalyst in his stellar showing.
This is especially true when you consider who he will likely be matched up with. Jonas Valanciunas is highly underrated, but you’re asking for trouble when he’s being tasked with chasing Porzingis around on the perimeter. The Spurs did something similar with Jakob Poeltl and it predictably didn’t go well for them.
Get KP involved early and the Mavericks will reap the benefits later on.
Memphis is an otherwise limited offensive team. They don’t have tons of playmaking or shooting, they aren’t super dynamic or explosive on the wing, and they’re fairly young. In fact, their best halfcourt offensive option might be the aforementioned Jonas Valanciunas.
Where they are dangerous is in the open floor. They’re athletic, energetic, and hungry for a highlight that can get their energy level up.
Thats why it is absolutely imperative the Mavericks balance the floor & take care of the ball. Mind you, these are things they’re very good at. And that’s why this looks like a favorable matchup, but you always have to be careful with how hard this Memphis team plays.
Can they keep Morant out of the paint?
Reigning rookie of the year Ja Morant is one the games most exciting young players. His blend of explosive athleticism & feel for the game make for an excellent face of the franchise in Memphis.
He does have one glaring weakness however: shooting. The second year guard is shooting just 27% from deep this year on only one attempt per game. Basically, he doesn’t want to shoot them and he’s no good at it anyway.
Where he can really hurt you is by getting in the paint and using his excellent array of finishes and passes to create points.
For the Mavericks, it’s simple. Minimize his paint touches and you probably win the game. That means going under screens, dropping bigs, helping off others, etc..
Whatever the plan might be, slowing Ja down should be priority number one. They do that, and they’ll take home a big win.
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