Dallas Mavericks: Examining late game struggles and how offense changes

Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

Defenses sell out to stop Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic

This is no secret. It comes with the superstar status. The Mavericks attempted to keep the ball out of James Harden’s hands late in the game. The Beard had 14 shots in the first three quarters and just four in the ten minutes he played in the fourth. The Mavs were doubling and trying to get him to give it up.

The Rockets did the same thing against Doncic. They crashed hard every time the 21-year-old got in the paint. That is what made his one score late in the game, so perfect. Doncic used his quickness to finish the layup before Russell Westbrook or James Harden could collapse.

Luka is still trying to find the balance of taking difficult shots versus passing off to open teammates. He has shot 29.0 percent of his 62 attempts in clutch time according to NBA Stats. Kristaps Porzingis is also below 30 percent on 34 tries. Tim Hardaway Jr. is only slightly better at 32.3 percent. Those two and others have to step up when the opposition is forcing the ball out of Luka’s hands.

Doncic needs to attack more too. 34 of his 62 attempts are 3-pointers. The 21-year-old has made just four clutch time threes. He needs to get into the paint and force the defense into mistakes.

Next: Rest of the Mavs