5 things the Dallas Mavericks need to improve to get back on track

Tyler Watts
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Dallas Mavericks have lost three consecutive games and four of their last five. Going back a bit further, they have just three wins in their last nine contests to fall to 9-9 on the season. Superstar Luka Doncic has been fantastic, and he is among the frontrunners for MVP, so why are the Mavs struggling?

Dallas has a flawed roster that features too many catch-and-shoot options, but they still have the seventh-best net rating in the NBA. Nearly every number suggests that the Mavericks are a better team than their record. That does not mean they will immediately turn it around, though.

Here are five things the Mavs need to do better to get back on track. Luka and company want to make another deep playoff run, but that will not happen unless they start executing better in these situations.

Thing Dallas Mavericks must improve to get back on track: 5. Clutch time

14 of the Mavs' first 18 games this season have been classified as clutch per NBA Stats, which means the score has been within five points in the final five minutes. Dallas is 7-7 in those contests, which is tied for 16th in the NBA. Their defense has been dreadful late in games with a 126.8 defensive rating, which puts their net rating at minus-16.8, which ranks 24th in the league.

To make matters worse, their final play execution on offense has left plenty to be desired. Dallas had a shot to tie the game on Nov. 26 against the Raptors but turned the ball over because of a bad pass. Luka Doncic missed a game-winning 3-pointer against the Nuggets, but he had to shoot it from 35 feet from the basket. There has been no creative play calling, and Dallas mostly relies on number 77 to bail them out and take a contested final shot.

The Mavericks unquestionably need to clean up their late-game execution. They need to be locked in defensively and keep creating open shots on the offensive end.