Dallas Mavericks Second Quarter Report Card
We've officially reached the half-way mark of the season for the Dallas Mavericks. Their first-quarter success on the season resulted in fairly good marks all across the board. Now it's time to look at how they fared during this second quarter.
The Mavs boast a 26-15 record, good for sixth in the standings in a crowded Western Conference. They are 12-9 over the past 21 games. They still remain in the top-three for points per game across the entire NBA, but during this quarter we've seen some glaring weaknesses.
Luka Doncic: A-
Doncic has remained one of the top players in the league. He's currently fourth in the league in points per game and third in assists per game. Outside of the game where he injured his ankle in the opening minutes against the Heat, he hasn't scored fewer than 19 points a game during this quarter. He's also managed five triple-doubles during this period too.
His three-point percentage remains an area of concern. Currently, he's shooting 32%, which is down from where he finished as a rookie. As a volume shooter, you have to hope that he figures it out soon because 32% on nine attempts a game is not ideal.
He's also had some problems closing out games of late. It's a problem facing the entire team, but being the face of the franchise also means taking more of the heat. Being able to relax a bit during the All-Star weekend should help cure some mid-season frustrations.
Kristaps Porzingis: B
Porzingis was much improved this second quarter. He continued to be good defensively, while shooting well, especially in Luka's absence. He's still not fully back, and if we are honest with ourselves, it may take all season to fully be his old self.
Coming into the NBA season, the Mavericks had concerns about rebounding. Porzingis has stepped up to solve a bit of that problem by averaging over nine boards game, which is the highest average of his career.
While much talk was given towards whether or not he should post-up or not, it's clear we are starting to see a more confident Porzingis. With this team headed towards the playoffs, they'll need every ounce of confidence he can muster.
Everyone Else: B+
Now that more of the season has passed, the Mavs bench and role players continue to play well. The rise of Maxi Kleber and Dorian Finney-Smith has been fun to watch. Both players have been quality defenders that are counted on each night, as well as they've been able to raise their three-point percentage pretty dramatically.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has proved to be the third man in the offensive rotation to carry the team at times. His willingness to shoot can sometimes be his Achilles heel, but having another guy outside of Doncic and Porzingis who is capable and confident enough to shoot it at will, has proved to be valuable.
Even more recently the Mavs have been able to count on Dwight Powell too, who's shooting 64% from the field on the season. We've also seen flashes from Seth Curry, Delon Wright, and Boban Marjanovic being able to carry the team for brief stretches.
Areas of Strength
Scoring Points. This team is still lighting up the scoreboards most nights. They are third in the league in points per game with 116.6 per night.
Rebounding. Even with Doncic and Porzingis missing games during this quarter of the season, the Mavs jumped from fifth in rebounds per game to fourth.
Bench Play. All three areas of strength remain the same. The bench has been consistent, they are second in top net rating. They also are still in the top-five scoring for a bench unit.
Areas of Improvement
Being Clutch. The team has lost too many games this season while having a lead either heading into the fourth quarter, or at least during the final few minutes of the game. They've allowed poor shooting and costly turnovers to knock them out of winnable games.
Free Throws. This offseason, shooting free throws needs to be a top priority. They currently sit 17th in the league in free throw percentage, while being 8th in free throw attempts.
Keeping Cool. Luka ripped his jersey, which is fine. However, one of the blueprints of trying to defeat the Mavericks is by getting them frustrated. If teams can get the Mavericks frustrated and flustered, they know they have an advantage.
This season is still continuing well for the team. They've dipped a bit in the standings, but that is not really a cause for concern. The top-six seeds are pretty much guaranteed locks for the playoffs. Luka Doncic is still in the MVP race discussion and looks to be a starter in the All-Star game.
There is still plenty of basketball to be played. The team will need to figure out how to close out games better and how to steady the ship when the game gets difficult. So far, things are still looking up.