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NBA

Mavs coach Jason Kidd laments reliance on 3 pointers in Game 2 loss

Victims of their own success? Maybe, but whatever the case the Mavs will need to adapt their approach as they head into Game 3 if they hope to avoid going 3-0 down.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Mavs coach Jason Kidd laments reliance on 3 pointers in Game 2 loss
Christian PetersenAFP

On a night when they made NBA history with the amount of 3 pointers that they scored, one would have expected the Mavs to win, but in the end that wasn’t the case and their coach is not at all pleased.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd bothered by one-dimensional approach

When the buzzer went at the end of Friday night’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, many were left wondering just how the Mavs managed to blow a 19 point lead to finally lose 126-117 against the Golden State Warriors and in the process surrendering a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series. Many except head coach Jason Kidd was quick to blame the his team’s one-dimensional offensive approach.

The Mavs who posted 21 of 45 3-point attempts in the game thereby equaling the third-most 3s made during a playoff loss in NBA history, seemed to rely almost entirely on shooting from distance as the game gradually slipped out of their hands. Indeed, it became all to clear in the third quarter when Dallas was limited to just 13 points, but with a telling 2 for 13 shooting from distance. “When you go 2-for-13 and you rely on the 3, you can die by the 3,” Kidd said after the game. “And we died in the third quarter by shooting that many 3s and coming up with only two.”

How do the Mavs correct their approach?

To be fair to Dallas, they are currently in the Western Conference finals because of how well they have shot from beyond the arc all post season long. With that in mind it would be understandable to think “if it’s not broken don’t fix it,” especially when players like Luka Doncic have been shooting exceptionally well along with Maxi Kleber. Quite frankly Dallas has led the league in 3-pointers with 15.6 made per game to go with 41.1 attempts and an overall percentage of 37.9 from distance. Those are some impressive numbers no doubt, but with the writing on the wall having already taken one blow out loss in Game 1 and then being limited in Game 2 down the stretch, it may well be time for the Mavs to consider a different strategy. On the other hand it’s always important in any sport to play to your strengths.

“I mean, we were getting great looks,” said Mavs guard Jalen Brunson, who scored 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. “When we’re open, we’re going to shoot. We have a lot of guys capable of making shots, knocking shots down. So I think as long as we’re open and shooting the correct shots, making the extra pass, doing the things that we do, we have confidence in everybody, I have confidence in everybody to knock it down.

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd gives his thoughts

While there will be much debate as to what the Mavericks should or shouldn’t have done, where the coach is concerned he felt it was a matter of a lack of aggression on the dribble when plan A - open look jumpers - stopped working It should be noted that the Mavs were 3-of-6 on 2-point in the third quarter and as if to punctuate the point, only managed to attempt four free throws in the final six minutes. “If you make [3s], that’s great, but you just have to understand, if you miss four in a row, you can’t take the fifth,” Kidd said. “You’ve got to make it. That just puts too much stress on yourself and on your team because, if you’re not getting stops on the other end, it turns into a blowout. ...We play defense when we play offense, and we play no defense when we can’t score,” Kidd said. “That’s something that we have to get better at this time of the year.”

Luka Doncic was good, but not good enough

On a night when Luka Doncic finished with 42 points and eight assists it’s hard to believe that the Mavericks didn’t emerge victorious, but when we consider the fact that the Warriors had six players who hit double figures including Stephen Curry’s 32 points, things become a little more understandable. For his part Doncic actually managed to tie franchise great Dirk Nowitzki for the most 40 point games in the franchise’s history, but in the end it didn’t matter. Interestingly the Mavs are actually only 2-5 when Doncic breaks the 40 point mark. The 23 year old Slovenian lamented in similar fashion to his coach the drive shy approach that his team had on the night. “We weren’t attacking the paint that much,” said Doncic. “But we got to attack the paint more, like they did. They attacked the paint a lot. They have two of the best shooters in the world, and they still attack the paint. So I think we’ve got to rely less on the 3.

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