The league’s two best offenses meet tonight in Toronto as the Raptors take on the Dallas Mavericks.
This one could be a shootout. The Mavericks come in leading the league with 109.3 points per game with Toronto right behind them at 108. Dallas is also tops in the league with an offensive rating of 116.4, and the Raptors are nipping at their heels with a rating of 115.1. Both teams can certainly fill it up, but interestingly, they go about it in very different ways.
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Dallas moves the ball exceptionally well. They have the highest total of assists in the league and 52% of their shots are attempted without taking a single dribble. Their personnel fit into the pick-and-roll heavy offense perfectly. With it they are able to score in a variety of ways, forcing defenses pick their poison when trying to defend them in the half court. They have playmaking ball handlers, big men who finish around the rim, and perimeter shooters galore to space things out. Because of their prowess in the pick-and-roll the Mavericks are able to get plenty of good looks from close with their big men – Dallas leads the league in alley-oops and total dunks – and their slashing guards, or open three-pointers. 30% of their shots come from closer than three feet, 11th in the league, and 32% of their attempts are three-pointers, good for third highest.
Nov 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson (15) guard Kyle Lowry (7) and guard Louis Williams (23) celebrate after their game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. The Raptors won 126-115. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
On the other hand, the Raptors don’t shoot as many three-pointers as one might expect from the second-highest scoring team in the league. They’ve attempted almost 100 fewer than Dallas and rank 13th in total attempts. They don’t move the ball as well as the Mavericks either. Dallas is third in the league in points created off assists, while the Raptors are 22nd. But they get to the line at a high rate, something the Mavericks do not do. Toronto is second in the league in free throw rate, or the number of free throw attempts per field goal attempt. Dallas is 17th. Their guards create for themselves very well and work their way to the line at a high clip. DeMar DeRozan is third in both free throw attempts and makes, and Kyle Lowry is averaging a career-high 5.9 free throw attempts per game.
No matter how they do it, both teams have been lighting up the scoreboard all season long. Is it possible we’ll see 250 combined points? With these two squads I wouldn’t bet against it.